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Federal Criminal Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati address – by appointment only:
250 East 5th Street 15th floor
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Linda Julin McNamara
Attorney Linda Julin McNamara
Federal Appeals Team Lead
Former Deputy Chief, Appellate Division
Elizabeth Stepp
Attorney Elizabeth K. Stepp
Federal Appeals Team Lead
Partner & Yale Graduate
Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Federal Appeals Team Lead
envelope iconContact Nick

Getting convicted for a federal offense in Cincinnati, Ohio, is a serious setback. It means that the penalties of a conviction are no longer a hypothetical.

Once you have been sentenced by the district court, though, you have the right to appeal. Invoking this right, however, must be done almost immediately. Taking action can be the best way to continue to challenge law enforcement’s case against you, protect your rights, and preserve your future.

The federal appeals attorneys at the national law firm Oberheiden P.C. have helped numerous individuals and corporations appeal their criminal conviction in federal district courts across the country, including in the Queen City, Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Role of an Appeal in the Federal Criminal Justice System

The federal criminal justice system is a long process that includes the investigation, the pre-trial and the trial, and the appeal.


If federal law enforcement agents uncover evidence that suggests you committed a federal offense, they will investigate further. If they accumulate enough evidence to suggest that there is probable cause to believe that you did, in fact, commit the crime, prosecutors are likely to present the evidence to a grand jury for review. If the grand jury agrees that there is probable cause, it will issue an indictment. You will be arrested, arraigned, and informed of the charges against you. A trial date will be set.

Pre-Trial and Trial

For charges filed in Cincinnati, your trial will be held in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. While there are two other branch locations in Dayton and the capital of Ohio, Columbus, your trial will generally be set for the Potter Stewart Courthouse at 100 East Fifth Street in downtown Cincinnati.

Most federal criminal charges end with a plea deal. The vast majority of these come with the condition that you are not allowed to appeal them.

If you take your case to trial and are found guilty, you will be sentenced. At that point, you have a right to appeal your conviction, your sentence, or both.

However, to invoke this right, you have to file a Notice of Appeal with the Southern District of Ohio within 14 days.


The Notice of Appeal starts the appeals process. The district court will preserve the record of the trial and will forward it to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the federal appellate court that has jurisdiction over all of Ohio, as well as over cases in Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The good news for defendants in Cincinnati is that the Sixth Circuit is also located in the Potter Stewart Courthouse in downtown Cincinnati.

Importantly, an appeal does not mean that your case gets retried. Instead, it means that the appellate judges on the Sixth Circuit will review your conviction or sentence for a mistake or an abuse of discretion made by the district court judge or by law enforcement during the trial. It is the job of your appellate lawyer to point out what went wrong and to explain to the Sixth Circuit judges why the right thing to do is to overturn your conviction.

If the Sixth Circuit judges agree with your arguments, they can remand the case back to the district court with instructions for how to proceed, tell the district court to retry the case, or toss your conviction and sentence entirely.

If the Sixth Circuit does not agree with your arguments, it will affirm the district court’s ruling. At that point, you can request a rehearing at the Sixth Circuit or file a petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden



Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney


Brian J. Kuester
Brian J. Kuester

Former U.S. Attorney

Amanda Marshall
Amanda Marshall

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

Joe Brown
Joe Brown

Former U.S. Attorney

Local Counsel

John W. Sellers
John W. Sellers

Former Senior DOJ Trial Attorney

Linda Julin McNamara
Linda Julin McNamara

Federal Appeals Attorney

Aaron L. Wiley
Aaron L. Wiley

Former DOJ attorney

Local Counsel

Roger Bach
Roger Bach

Former Special Agent (DOJ)

Chris Quick
Chris J. Quick

Former Special Agent (FBI & IRS-CI)

Michael S. Koslow
Michael S. Koslow

Former Supervisory Special Agent (DOD-OIG)

Ray Yuen
Ray Yuen

Former Supervisory Special Agent (FBI)

Appeals are Radically Different from Trials

One thing that tends to surprise criminal defendants in Cincinnati is how different trials are from appeals. Understanding the difference can help you see why it is so important to have different attorneys handle your trial and your appeal.

During trial, evidence is gathered by law enforcement and your defense attorney. At trial, your lawyer will focus on the facts of the case and aim to convince a jury that there is at least a reasonable doubt that you committed the crimes you have been charged with.

On appeal, it is extremely rare for additional facts to be allowed into the case. The vast majority of appeals rely exclusively on the record of the trial that had been conducted in the district court. Instead, your appellate lawyer will have to identify a grounds for your appeal. This can be a mistake or some form of misconduct during the trial process, such as:

  • The district court misapplied the law
  • The law at issue is vague or open to different interpretations
  • The judge abused his or her discretion
  • There was misconduct among the jury or by the prosecutor that affected the outcome of your case
  • The evidence does not support the verdict

Once the grounds for appeal has been determined, both your appellate lawyer and the prosecutor will research, write, and submit legal briefs to the Sixth Circuit judges hearing the case. These briefs are dozens of pages long. They dig deep into the relevant law. Your defense lawyer’s brief will explain why the grounds for appeal support overturning the district court’s ruling. The prosecutor’s brief will argue that the ruling should be affirmed.

Because there are so many differences between the trial and the appeal, the skill set that you need to succeed at each stage is very different. Trial lawyers need to be engaging and cover lots of facts that show your innocence or that undermine the case against you. Appellate lawyers need to be extremely persuasive in writing and have an intimate understanding of the relevant law.

Some FAQs About Oberheiden P.C. and the Appeals System in Cincinnati, Ohio

What Sets Oberheiden P.C. Apart from Other Appellate Law Firms in Cincinnati?


Oberheiden P.C. is different from other law firms that handle criminal appeals in that all of our lawyers at senior-level attorneys with numerous years of experience handling cases just like yours in federal court. Many of our attorneys came to Oberheiden P.C. from some of the very federal law enforcement agencies that are pursuing the charges against you, like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or the Department of Justice (DOJ).

This also means that you can count on all of the legal work that gets done for your case to be the product of a senior-level attorney. When we say that we only employ senior-level lawyers, we mean it. There are no junior associates at Oberheiden P.C., or even any legal secretaries or paralegals. Especially for appeals, this experience matters during the tedious process of researching and writing the legal brief that will make or break your appeal.

What Does It Mean to Preserve an Issue for Appeal?


If you want to use an issue as the grounds for your appeal, it must be brought up during the trial process at the district court. Raising the issue or argument at the lower court, even if it is clear that the district court is not going to buy it, preserves it for appeal so it can be raised again in front of the Sixth Circuit’s judges.

The reason for this is simple: The appeal reviews the district court’s decisions, and if the district court was never presented with the issue then there is no decision about it to review.

This is why it is essential for some criminal defendants who anticipate the need for an appeal to have their appellate team lined up before the appeals process begins. They can work with the trial attorney to make sure that the right issues get preserved. This can ensure that the best appeal is made. If the issue is not preserved in the district court, it can be extremely difficult to convince the Sixth Circuit to consider it on appeal for the first time.

Are All Appeals the Same?


No appeals are the same. They are all unique. Most of them are unique in the legal points that they raise. Some of these can be extremely nuanced and multi-faceted. Some appeals raise important factual considerations, such as whether the district court judge abused his or her discretion while handling your case or trial.

Why Doesn’t Oberheiden P.C. Call Itself the Best Appellate Law Firm in Cincinnati?


Because we prefer to let our prior clients do that sort of talking for us. We are confident that the legal work that we have provided to them was good enough for them to refer us to others. Many of them have left glowing testimonials about the services we brought to the table.

Oberheiden P.C.: Federal Appeals Lawyers Handling a Variety of Cases in Cincinnati, Ohio

If you have been convicted and sentenced for a federal offence in Cincinnati, Ohio, you need strong legal representation for your appeal. The federal appeals lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. have legally represented appellants as they challenge a wide variety of criminal convictions, including:

  • Securities fraud
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Money laundering
  • Public corruption and bribery
  • Conspiracy
  • Drug offenses
  • Tax fraud and tax evasion
  • Mail and wire fraud
  • Insider trading
  • Bank and investment fraud
  • White collar crime

Clients who have hired us have obtained the services of senior-level attorneys with extensive experience in these and other practice areas for their appeal. Contact us online or call our law firm at (888) 680-1745 to get started on your appeal.

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