Interviewer: Please introduce yourself and your practice and tell me how long you've been practicing law. Robert Callahan: My name is Robert Callahan. I have been practicing criminal defense law in Chicago, Cook County, and the surrounding counties for almost 20 years. Interviewer: What areas do you practice in? Robert Callahan: Exclusively criminal defense, focusing primarily on more serious crimes. Interviewer: Why do you practice criminal defense? What got you into it in the first place, and what has kept you in it for so long? Robert Callahan: Well, growing up in Chicago, I had the dubious honor of seeing how the police interact with citizens in general on a daily basis. When I was a kid, it was common to bribe the police if you got pulled over for a traffic stop. My dad would get pulled over for a traffic stop and hand the cop a $20 bill along with his license, and the cop would be fine and send us on our way. The police would steal things. Interviewer: Go ahead. Robert Callahan: So, that surprised me, and when I got into law school and started to see the difference between what is written in law books and what actually happens on the street and subsequently in a courtroom; it inspired me to want to make a difference. People judge someone who is charged with a crime. A lot of times, there is a presumption of guilt as opposed to a presumption of innocence. I have had the opportunity to work on cases for people who have been wrongfully accused and I even worked on a couple cases for people who were sentenced to death in Illinois yet were subsequently found to be completely innocent. The verdict was not only not guilty or not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but completely, 100% innocent. So when people say "those people," referring to those charged with crimes, one of the things I have learned over the years is that you can never be 100% sure about almost anything. There are exceptions, but very often there is a large, gray area between what happened in reality and what the police, the judges, the prosecutors, and the general public perceive as having happened. Presumption of Guilt & the 4th Amendment. Interviewer: How many of the people that come to you feel like they are doomed and there is nothing that can be done? They are just calling in the hope that maybe they can get some better result? Robert Callahan: It is pretty common for somebody to come in the office saying, "This is just a lost cause. I am going to the penitentiary, right? I'm going to have to plead guilty anyway.” A lot of times, people are unaware of the fact that there are a few different stages at which a case can be won prior going to trial or prior to pleading guilty. So someone who is 100% guilty walks into my office. They are guilty of possessing narcotics, or they are guilty of being a drug dealer. They have been caught red handed with a half kilo of cocaine, but I was able to get the cocaine charge suppressed due to an unconstitutional search and seizure. Then the prosecution was forced to dismiss the case because the police conducted an illegal and unconstitutional search. The 4th amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees people the right of privacy in their homes, vehicles, and person, and when police search those things illegally, when they come into your house without a search warrant or they stop you without a reasonable suspicion or probable cause, they violate that 4th amendment. There is also something called the exclusionary rule, which is a longstanding rule of law that requires the trier of fact or the court, upon finding a constitutional violation, to exclude whatever evidence is recovered as a result of an improper and illegal search from being used as evidence. The exclusionary rule says that because it was found without a warrant, that cocaine must be excluded from evidence. The prosecution can no longer use it, and we win the case because they have no evidence.