By Zachary Daum
St. Clair County Residential Circuit Judge Heinz Rudolf delivered a thought-provoking presentation at Mascoutah High School, enlightening students about the potential legal and criminal pitfalls associated with partying. The presentation, aptly titled “Seven Reasons to Leave a Party,” aimed to educate the young audience on the importance of making informed choices while enjoying social gatherings.
Judge Rudolf’s appearance at Mascoutah High School served as an opportunity to engage with students on subjects that matter beyond the classroom walls. He emphasized that the goal wasn’t to dissuade them from attending parties but rather to equip them with the knowledge needed to navigate potential legal issues that might arise during such events.
“If you think I’m suggesting to you not to go to the party, that is not what I’m suggesting. Of course, we want you to go to the party and have fun, but Principal Johnson wanted us today to focus on some of the legal and criminal pitfalls that could be demonstrated at these parties. The idea is to tell you a little bit of the things involved when confronted at this party,” Judge Rudolf emphasized.
During his presentation, Judge Rudolf discussed various crimes that could inadvertently occur at parties and stressed the gravity of such offenses. He provided valuable insights on what to do if one finds themselves in a serious situation at a party and the potential consequences of their actions.
Rudolf also discussed at length the seriousness of not drinking and driving, stating that if a minor has even .01% blood alcohol level when being tested with a breathalyzer, they will still be charged for underage drinking.
This presentation was part of a collaborative effort with several members of the Illinois Justice Association (IJA), aimed at educating young adults on critical topics. The IJA partnered with Judge Rudolf to create two presentations, with the other one focusing on the risks associated with internet usage, titled “The Worries of the World Wide Web.”
Judge Rudolf believes that judges can play a unique role in conveying important messages to young individuals. “We’re all kind of working towards getting the message out because kids are good. They want to do the right thing. You just have to give them the right tools to help educate them. The idea is that maybe, we as judges, maybe we are a different messenger. Even though you are getting the message here in school, someone who is actually in the courtroom who can provide real-world examples, it will help,” he noted.
The initiative hopes to see judges across the state follow suit and conduct similar presentations in their respective counties. “We have over 900 judges in the state. If each judge did one presentation in all of these counties and disseminated it out, it would really make a difference. That’s what this initiative is about,” Judge Rudolf added.
For those interested in delving deeper into Judge Rudolf’s insights, a recent discussion between he and several IJA members is available in video format on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH5SNejEbvs.
Judge Heinz Rudolf’s visit to Mascoutah High School served as a reminder of the judiciary’s commitment to the well-being and education of the community’s youth, as well as an opportunity for students to gain valuable insights into responsible partying and legal awareness.