On Thursday, September 26th, County Court 1 Judge Helen Petry Stowe and the San Antonio Bar Association hosted the portrait unveiling of retired Judge Al Alonso.
Judge Rosie Speedlin Gonzalez of County Court 13 gave a heartfelt introduction of the Judge, emphasizing his integral role as the catalyst for the way drug cases are now handled and also referring to him as a close friend and father figure. With pride, Judge Speedlin Gonzalez invited Judge Alonso to unveil his portrait to a crowd of over 75 colleagues, friends and family.
Judge Alonso, the Bexar County Court 1 Judge for 16 years, founded the first drug court in 2001. Judge Alonso credits founding the drug court as a result of his frustration caused by seeing the same non-violent defendants cycle in and out of his courtroom for the same drug and alcohol-related offenses.
Today, there are 9 drug courts in Bexar County, a result that is attributed to Judge Alonso's passion and dedication to getting repeat non-violent offenders the treatment needed. Specialty drug courts provide a holistic approach to sentencing and include additional one-on-one time with a team of legal interventionists including the presiding judge, probation officer, case manager and counselor. Some drug courts also offer substance abuse treatment or specific services for women also charged with prostitution.
In 2007, he served as President of the Texas Association of Drug Court Professionals, where he represented 78 drug courts statewide. In 2012, he founded and currently serves as president of the Therapeutic Justice Foundation, which promotes innovative strategies requiring community collaborations with the justice system to treat and rehabilitate criminal justice participants.
Judge Alonso's portrait will hang in County Court 1 at the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center on the first floor.