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Speeders Fight Back: Taking the Excuses from the Car to the Court Room
TV-14 D, L
Q & A with Judge Dave Heilmann
Judge Dave Heilmann

Meet Judge Dave Heilmann

Dave Heilmann is serving his second term as the Mayor of Oak Lawn, IL. His entertaining wit and unconventional means of enforcing the law bring a fresh face to the second season of Speeders Fight Back. Mayor Heilmann is extremely passionate about traffic safety. Last year the humorous stop signs he posted through the Oak Lawn community, which read, for example, STOP AND SMELL THE ROSES or STOP NOT PAUSE, gained national attention. In addition to being mayor, Heilmann also serves as a judge in the town's traffic court.

Mayor Heilmann also serves as senior partner with the Chicago law firm of Clausen Miller, PC. He is a member of the Federal Trial Bar and a monthly columnist for Chicago Lawyer magazine. He is the founder and supervisor of the Oak Lawn Park District Theatre Program and award-winning Broadway Junior Theatre program for children, which is regarded as one of the finest in the state.

Dave graduated from St. Linus Grammar School, Brother Rice High School, the University of Illinois (with a degree in Broadcast Journalism) and the DePaul University College of Law. He serves as a University of Illinois Alumni Advocate to the Illinois legislature.

He is married to Erica and has three children: Natalie, Joey and Michael.

Q: What is the most common excuse you've heard?

A: I wasn't going that fast, so the radar must have been broken or on another vehicle.

Q: What is the most bizarre excuse you've ever heard?

A: The strangest excuse was the guy who said that he was not guilty because the radar gun didn't get his car, but had actually gone through the windshield and back in time. When I asked him what he thinks the radar hit that was going 40 mph he said, "Maybe a horse." I said that a horse probably couldn't run that fast and he said "Then maybe it was one of those Arabian chariots." I presume he thought those chariots ran on an engine.

Q: Describe the worst driver to ever appear before you in court

A: It may have been the guy driving the Chrysler, upon which he put DeLorean doors and then drove with the doors open. Perhaps he thought he could fly.

Q: What's your best advice for someone who wants to fight a speeding ticket?

A: Tell the truth, because once you start fudging it, you'll probably get caught in the lie and that makes matters worse.

Q: When was the last time you received a traffic ticket?

A: I was given a citation in Oak Lawn for going 30 in a 20 about five years ago. Guilty as charged. Think I did three years in the state penitentiary for that.

Q: Ever fear giving a driver a ticket may cost you the next time she's in a voting booth?

A: No. If I honestly felt that my decision would affect a vote, I'd have to make sure that the person was locked up past the next election so they couldn't vote for the other guy.

Seriously? Never. I have never feared not being in public office.

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