News Item
Sixth Judicial District Judge Floerke earns award for his work with Treatment Courts

Posted: Friday, June 15, 2018

Duluth-chambered Judge Shaun R. Floerke was honored Tuesday at the Harold E. Hughes Awards of Excellence Luncheon during the National Rural Institute on Alcohol and Drug Abuse award ceremony at the University of Wisconsin, Stout campus. Floerke was awarded the Exceptional Rural Professional Award which is given to rural professionals for outstanding contributions to the field of drug and alcohol recovery.
“I am humbled by this honor,” Judge Floerke said. “Successful Treatment Courts, like the ones in South St. Louis County, are a collaborative, community effort. Working closely with people who are fighting to improve their lives and to live free from addiction is challenging and immensely gratifying. I am especially grateful for the attention our community has received for our efforts to pull together to halt and reverse the devastating opioid crisis in St. Louis County.”
Judge Floerke was recognized for his local and national contributions to address the opioid crisis and his work with the South St. Louis County DWI Court. Earlier this year, Judge Floerke was selected to serve on the National Judicial Opioid Task Force which fights the opioid epidemic locally and at a systems-level nationwide. Department of Health statistics show that St. Louis County has the highest per capita rate of opioid overdoses. The rate of fatal overdose from heroin and opioids in St. Louis County increased 108 percent between 2011 and 2015.
This award comes on the heels of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals honoring the South St. Louis County DWI Court team with the DWI Court Leadership Award which recognizes the court’s efforts to expand treatment for felony DWI offenders and make St. Louis County a safer place for all.  The Tuesday awards luncheon was named for U.S. Senator Harold E. Hughes, of Iowa, who was a pioneer in the field of addiction and recovery. The Senator was known for speaking candidly about his struggle with alcoholism and work to reduce the stigma associated with addiction.
Adult Drug Courts, DWI Courts, Family Dependency Treatment Court, Juvenile Drug Court, Mental Health Court, and Veterans Court fall under the Treatment Court umbrella. Treatment Court strategies include extended probation, frequent appearances before a judge, frequent meetings with probation officers, staggered sentencing that breaks up jail time into segments and allows the participant to "earn" reductions in jail time with good behavior, and regular alcohol and other drug testing. When these strategies are implemented correctly, they improve public safety and save taxpayer dollars. Research shows that this approach has proven more effective than traditional court strategies at reducing repeat offenses.