Intelligent Criminal Defense For Clients Throughout McLean County

Bryan J. McIntyre

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Practice Areas:

  • Criminal Defense


I grew up in a poor part of a college town in Oklahoma. My parents realized I would be a lawyer long before I did, as I was "cross-examining" the idea of Santa Claus before I turned three. As a child, I was shocked and disheartened to see how some people (especially certain demographics) were treated so much more harshly by law enforcement than their more affluent counterparts. Even in court, people who have struggled for practically every meal seemed to be prosecuted by people who had never known real hardship. In my teens and twenties, I worked in food service, carpentry, custodial, large appliance repair, and more. Ultimately, I decided that I would go back to college, go to law school, and become a prosecutor. Someone, I decided, needed to use the prosecutorial discretion correctly.

Of course, once I actually got to law school and into practice, I realized things are not so simple. Many assistant prosecutors are not fully allowed to use their discretion, and can even get into trouble if they challenge police for using unconstitutional tactics. I will forever remember the now-retired judge who took me aside when I was still in law school and explained why the calling of a public defender is even more noble than that of a prosecutor. No one expects a public defender to win by cutting corners, misrepresenting the facts, or by dirty tricks. The public defender is there to make sure that people get a fair trial and to call out constitutional violations; that's it. They don't feel a pressure to convict where they shouldn't, like many prosecutors, and there's little question that their reputation is for sale, as with some private defense attorneys. I took his advice to heart, and I still firmly believe that honest criminal defense attorneys are the answer to the age-old question "Who watches the watchmen?".

After graduating from the University of Illinois College of Law in Urbana-Champaign, I stayed on for two years as a supervising attorney in clinical programs (pro bono civil work done by law students). However, my passion for criminal justice was never quite sated by fighting off divorces, evictions, and foreclosures; it was not long before I moved to McLean County to become a public defender. Work as a public defender was every bit as hard as I had heard it was, but unbelievably gratifying. While public defenders often get a bad reputation, given their excessive case loads and insufficient resources, I was able to achieve real justice for some clients who might otherwise never have received it. I was also able to see many of the limitations in the system and had my hands tied in unexpected ways by both limited resources and bureaucracy. At the beginning of 2020, I moved to Springfield to work as an assistant appellate defender: a public defender on appeal.

Appellate work was interesting, and gave me a far broader exposure to the different courtroom cultures across much of central Illinois. However, there is rarely much relief available after someone has been convicted and sentenced and I longed to return to the courtroom. I am a good appellate attorney, but I am a great litigator. I have a great deal of respect for what the public defenders do, but I also know the ways in which their hands can be tied by extra-legal concerns. As a private attorney, I can offer my best advice and most zealous defense to every person who walks through my doors. I strive, in every case I take, to prove that you will not find a more honest, zealous, and tenacious attorney anywhere.