TWU was integral to lawyer’s success

Landon Dickerson

Landon Dickerson made history in 2014 as the first male elected student body president at Texas Woman’s University. Now, as a mental health prosecutor in the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, he’s working on a new program to provide services for people with mental illness who are caught up in the legal system.

Dickerson, a Houston native, transferred to Texas Woman’s from Xavier University of Louisiana with the intention of entering the nursing program. He fell in love with the legal studies program, though, and changed his major.

“TWU’s legal studies program is top-notch,” he said. “It really molded me into the leader I am today.”

Dickerson became involved with TWU’s student government, first serving as treasurer before seeking the Student Government Association (SGA) president post.

“I enjoyed being part of student government, and I felt that people in SGA were really trying to make a change on campus,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we had a student body that felt the administration respected their ideas.”

Landon Dickerson elected GA president in 2014.
Landon Dickerson was elected GA president in 2014.

Dickerson garnered local media attention when it was revealed he was the first male to be elected study body president. He admitted in interviews that he had been unaware of that status until after the election.

While Dickerson was proud to serve as president, he says being the first male in that role wasn’t always smooth sailing.

“Some people were excited about seeing a change, and some weren’t,” he said. “I spent a lot of my time trying to navigate that and set that aside and just do the best I could as president.”

Dickerson graduated from TWU in December 2015 and entered the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University the following fall. He earned his Doctor of Law degree in May 2019, and later that year was hired by the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office. He left for a time to try his hand at civil litigation but found that he preferred criminal law. Now he’s back at Tarrant County as a mental health prosecutor in a new program aimed at helping those who have mental health issues.

“We’re trying our best to help people with mental illnesses gain competency and get mental health services to help them better themselves,” he said.

It’s a different side of prosecution — one that most people aren’t aware of.


“In my field of work, people see us as the State of Texas and (think) ‘You put people away,’ but really, we’re doing our best to help restore people and give them some sense of normalcy in their lives,” Dickerson said.

“I get to protect their rights as well,” he added. “Across the state, we’ve had people that have been in jail longer than need be, and our DA is saying that’s a no-go. We have to make sure to get these people out, with the safety of the defendant and community in mind. We also are coordinating with MHMR of Tarrant County to provide them services so that when they’re out, they’re not just left on the street. That’s what I’ve been tasked to do, and I take great pride in my job.”

Dickerson said he wears his TWU ring everywhere goes. “I look at it sometimes and look at my life now and say, ‘Wow, I made the right decision’ (to attend the university).” His wife, the former Erika Rachal, also is a TWU graduate. The couple has a son, 2-year-old Landon Jr., and another child on the way. Dickerson said he wants his son to attend TWU.

“It was not what I thought it was going to be,” he said. “I walked into a woman’s university, but really, they poured as much into the men as they did the women. It broadened my perspective.”

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Page last updated 9:51 AM, February 2, 2022