The Honorable Ruben Reyes
The Honorable Ruben Reyes, beloved former NADCP board chair and longtime treatment court judge and champion, passed away on Saturday, December 12, 2020 following complications related to Covid-19. This tragic loss is being mourned across the nation, from Lubbock, Texas, where Judge Reyes served as state district judge and presided over adult drug court, to courtrooms around the world that benefited from his ongoing commitment to improving the justice system’s response to substance use and mental health disorders.
“It is impossible to state the magnitude of this loss,” said NADCP CEO Carson Fox. “Judge Reyes was a monumental figure not only in the Texas judiciary but in the treatment court movement. His compassion saved countless lives, and his vision and tireless commitment to improving the justice system was heroic. As chair of the NADCP board of directors, Judge Reyes helped strengthen the organization with his thoughtful leadership. But what I’ll miss most about Judge Reyes was his unrivaled integrity and kindness. He saw the good in people and treated everyone with respect and dignity. This is a tragic loss, and all of us at NADCP will strive to carry on the values he so profoundly personified.”
In addition to serving on the Texas Association of Specialty Courts, Judge Reyes was president of the Council of State Drug Court Associations from 2012 to 2013, where he led the successful effort to increase federal funding for treatment courts. Judge Reyes joined the NADCP board of directors in 2010 and served as board chair from 2015 to 2017. Like in treatment court, Judge Reyes led NADCP by example, with kindness, wit, and an abiding determination to press forward. He never lost sight of the lives at stake, and his example is one that NADCP will always strive to equal. For his incredible service, Judge Reyes was inducted into NADCP’s Stanley Goldstein Treatment Court Hall of Fame in 2018.
Ruben Reyes was always a leader. He was the first of his family to graduate high school, going on to complete his undergraduate degree at Yale and his law degree at Baylor University. Following a career in private practice, he was appointed judge of the 72nd District Court of Lubbock and Crosby counties by Governor Rick Perry in 2006. It was behind the bench that Judge Reyes found his calling. In addition to his regular caseload, Judge Reyes presided over adult drug court, a program he led with humility and grace. In 2012, Judge Reyes was named chair of the Texas Governor’s Criminal Justice Advisory Council, where he helped lead the state’s expansion of treatment courts and other reforms.
Judge Reyes was active in the Lubbock community. He was a mentor to younger jurists, active in his church, and known to give freely of his time to causes that support individuals in need. He was the recipient of numerous awards for his service.
In a recent interview, Judge Reyes reflected on his life and career: “I think it’s up to every one of us every day to try and make everybody else’s world a little bit better. Whether it’s a kind eye, a courtesy, or something big…if we’d all be diligent about being good to each other every day, I think that would be a good reflection of Ruben.” Let us take these words to heart.
Remembrances can be posted on our All Rise Facebook page.