Two judges from the 22nd Judicial District Court in Covington and Franklinton have recently been honored for their service on the bench.

Judge William J. Burris has been chosen the Louisiana CASA judge of the year, in recognition of his contribution to the advancement of children’s issues.

Judge Peter J. Garcia has received the NAMI Louisiana Criminal Justice Award, for his commitment to the decriminalization of mental illness.

Burris received his award from the Louisiana CASA Association, an agency of The Court Appointed Special Advocates program of the Youth Service Bureau trains and supervises adult volunteers who provide advocacy and a voice for quality treatment and services for abused and neglected children.

“Judge Burris’ dedication to finding the best possible outcomes for abused and neglected children inspires everyone involved in the proceedings to give their absolute best effort, too,” said Youth Service Bureau CASA director Mary Slazer.

To learn about becoming a CASA volunteer, call the Youth Service Bureau at (985) 649-4092 or visit

Garcia was honored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness. In 1998, he started one of the first drug courts in Louisiana. In 2002, the 22nd District drug court was named by the U.S. Justice Department as one of 16 mentor courts in the country to provide training in the implementation of drug courts.

In 2011, Garcia began the Behavioral Health Court to provide case management and judicial supervision of people with mental health disorders within the criminal justice system.