LOS ANGELES, Sept. 13, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Saving lives is not usually part of television, but it's the heart of "Last Shot with Judge Gunn," a new show from the creator of "Judge Judy" and "A Current Affair." The show features Judge Mary Ann Gunn's drug court and the real-life consequences of individuals with criminal charges who are battling drug addiction and alcoholism. The results are inspirational and surprisingly successful — 93% of the people who have appeared before Judge Gunn remain productive, clean, and sober –- indicative of what can happen with a tenacious and compassionate judge on the bench.

Judge Gunn defies easy description: she rides a Harley-Davidson, she was the first female auto mechanic at Sears, she drives a tractor on her farm, she's a chef, she knits, and she's an avid coin collector.   But most importantly, she can tell in an instant when somebody is trying to pull the wool over her eyes.  

As a circuit court judge, Judge Gunn's unique combination of passion and compassion, strict discipline, and tough love successfully led to more than 1,200 former addicts "graduating" from her drug court in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is now bringing her experience and expertise to this compelling nationally syndicated show, which begins airing daily on September 26, modeled after her 12-year program as presiding judge in the Washington and Madison County court.

Her goal is to deliver a message of faith and promise to people whose lives have been devastated by addiction. On the other hand, she says, "If a participant in my court is non-compliant, they will answer. I will come down on them like thunder."

By helping real-life addicts "put their futures in front of them, instead of behind them," as she describes it, Judge Gunn brings an entirely new dimension to both unscripted television and the "judge show" genre, demonstrating that lives can truly be changed.

"When I was first exposed to the concept of a Drug Court, I was struck by one primary fact — that you simply can't just throw away people," said Judge Gunn. "Drug Court is not about desperation. It's not about hopelessness. It's about second chances and how the participants can, and must, commit themselves to remain clean and sober and to change their lives. Without such a means of redemption, our penitentiaries' doors will just swing back and forth."

Under Judge Gunn's program, as in most Drug Courts across the country, criminal defendants choose to participate in a long-term outpatient drug treatment program with intensive supervision by the Drug Court Team and the judge. Each participant attends regular individual and group therapy sessions, attends meetings with probation officers, takes frequent drug and alcohol tests, works full time, and attends Drug Court on a regular basis. The Drug Court team consists of Judge Gunn, addiction specialists, mental health professionals, probation officials, the prosecutor, defense counsel, law enforcement, and other professionals who all work to help the defendant break the deadly cycle of addiction while also protecting public safety.

As Judge Gunn says, many of those she sees in her courtroom have "never been 100% at anything" until they graduate from the program. 

"By showing the effectiveness of a Drug Court team, I consider 'Last Shot'to be an outreach to our country," says Judge Gunn. "It's not simply an alternative to incarceration -- transforming people's lives in an amazingly positive way is a moral responsibility we all share."

She indicates that the alternatives to Drug Court can be devastating: "I had one young man write his own obituary because, as I told him, he was going to die if he didn't quit using drugs."

Currently, more than 2,450 Drug Courts throughout the nation help an estimated 120,000 non-violent offenders find and maintain recovery from drugs and alcohol.

About "Last Shot with Judge Gunn"

"Last Shot with Judge Gunn" will air as a daily half-hour series. The production team includes Executive Producers Peter Brennan, Matt Battaglia, George Jones, and Mary Ann Gunn, with Lisa Lew as Co-Executive Producer. The show is produced by Matt Battaglia Productions and Caravan Entertainment, and is distributed by Trifecta Entertainment and Media. Connect at www.judgegunn.com, www.facebook.com/pages/Last-Shot-With-Judge-Gunn/138343189581275, and www.Twitter.com/judgegunn

Media Contacts:

Dea Shandera
(818) 456-4585

Craig Parsons
(310) 472-7632 / (310) 200-4310