About Me

Bob Ward is an assistant public defender in the Public Defender’s Office of the 26th Judicial District (Mecklenburg County) and has represented respondents (mental health patients) in the Civil Commitment court proceedings since 2012. He helped with Mecklenburg County’s selection as the first pilot project for psychiatric advance directives and psychiatric health care powers of attorney under the Crisis Navigation Project. He advises attorneys, judges, prosecutors, and others regarding people with mental health concerns, the civil commitment process, and the legal system. From 1992 until 2012, he worked in the field of specialty courts, including drug, mental health, DWI, and other treatment courts. From 1986 until 1994, he tried cases in district and superior court. He handled appellate criminal cases from 1986 till 1997. He was in private practice handling civil, criminal, and appellate matters from 1982 until joining the Public Defender’s Office in 1986. He has a wide range of experience in civil and criminal law, as well as with criminal justice and mental health reform.  He has worked extensively with treatment court training, mostly through the National Association of Drug Court Professionals and the National Drug Court Institute. He taught in the criminal justice department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte from 1995 until 1998 and has participated in conferences on criminal practice, treatment courts, civil commitments, and therapeutic jurisprudence in the United States, Australia, China, and the Netherlands. His publications include Confidentiality in Treatment Courts, NLADA Indigent Defense, Special Issue on Drug Courts, November/December, (NLADA) 1997; From Courtroom Advocacy to Systems Advocacy, NLADA Indigent Defense, March/April 2000; and Zealous Advocacy through Zealous Counseling, for the book Rehabilitating Lawyers by David Wexler (2008). He initiated and helped produce videos depicting perspectives of the S.T.E.P. Drug Treatment Court — Drug Court: A STEP in the Right DirectionCase Managing Recovery, and Making a Difference.