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Federal Appeals for Hobbs Act, Public Bribery, and Corruption Convictions

We Represent Clients in Federal Appeals Involving the Hobbs Act and Other Public Bribery and Corruption Convictions Nationwide

Linda Julin McNamara
Attorney Linda Julin McNamara
Hobbs Act, Public Bribery
and Corruption Appeals Team Lead
Former Deputy Chief, Appellate Division
Elizabeth Stepp
Attorney Elizabeth K. Stepp
Hobbs Act, Public Bribery
and Corruption Appeals Team
Partner & Yale Graduate
Nick Oberheiden
Attorney Nick Oberheiden
Hobbs Act, Public Bribery
and Corruption Appeals Team
envelope iconContact Nick

Nearly all federal crimes carry substantial penalties. This is certainly true of crimes involving public bribery and corruption. Convictions under the Hobbs Act and other statutes can cost politicians and executives their careers, and they can cost all defendants their freedom and financial stability.

At Oberheiden P.C., we handle federal Hobbs Act, public bribery, and corruption cases at the trial and appellate levels. If you have been convicted of any bribery or corruption-related offense, we can use our experience to effectively represent you on appeal. We handle federal appeals for both new and existing clients; and, while no outcome is guaranteed, we have a long track record of helping our clients avoid unnecessary consequences.

Experienced Federal Appellate Counsel Handling All Types of Public Corruption and Bribery Cases

Within our federal appeals practice, we represent clients who have been convicted of all types of federal public corruption and bribery offenses. Our practice includes representing clients who have been convicted of bid rigging, bribery, campaign finance violations, embezzlement of public funds, extortion, money laundering, and other related crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutes these crimes under a variety of statutes; and, while the specific charges involved are less relevant on appeal—as appeals focus primarily on flaws in the pre-trial and trial processes—it is possible to challenge a conviction by arguing that the weight of the evidence does not support the judge’s or jury’s decision in some cases.

As a result, when we represent clients in public corruption and bribery appeals, we rely on our federal experience (including many of our lawyers’ prior experience as DOJ prosecutors) to assess both the substantive and procedural aspects of our clients’ cases. Among other things, this means determining if the weight of the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to support a conviction under the specific statute (or statutes) at issue. This includes evaluating the validity of our clients’ convictions under:

  • The Hobbs Act – The Hobbs Act (18 U.S.C. Section 1951) prohibits robbery and extortion affecting interstate or foreign commerce. As the DOJ explains, “[a]lthough the Hobbs Act was enacted as a statute to combat racketeering in labor-management disputes, the statute is frequently used in connection with cases involving public corruption . . . and corruption directed at members of labor unions.”
  • The Federal Bribery Statute – The federal bribery statute (18 U.S.C. Section 201) prohibits the bribery of public officials, individuals who have been elected and appointed to public office, and witnesses. It imposes substantial penalties for entities and individuals that offer and pay bribes as well as for politicians and witnesses who solicit or accept them.
  • The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act – The RICO Act (18 U.S.C. Section 1961 et. seq.) is another federal statute that the DOJ frequently uses to pursue charges outside of the statute’s intended purpose. While, as its name suggests, the RICO Act was primarily intended to target racketeering and organized crime, today the DOJ routinely uses the statute to pursue criminal charges against politicians and other individuals accused of public corruption and bribery.
  • The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) – The FCPA prohibits corrupt practices involving foreign entities and U.S. government entities domestically, and it prohibits corrupt practices involving U.S. entities and foreign governments abroad. Due to its broad scope, the FCPA is also a preferred prosecution tool for the DOJ in federal public corruption and bribery cases.
  • The Travel Act – 18 U.S.C. Section 1952, commonly known as the Travel Act, allows for federal prosecution of anyone who uses the main or any other “facility in interstate or foreign commerce” to commit bribery and certain other offenses. While the Travel Act is not well-known outside of the federal bar, it can be an extremely potent weapon for the DOJ.
  • The Federal Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud Statutes – The federal mail fraud and wire fraud statutes (18 U.S.C. Section 1341 and 1343) allow the DOJ to pursue charges carrying up to a $1 million fine and 30 years in prison even without evidence of a “successful” bribe or other corrupt activity. Under these statutes, using the mail, phone lines, or the internet, “having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud,” can be prosecuted for a federal offense.

While several of these statutes are broad in their application, prosecutors must still be able to prove each individual element of the charged offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If the judge or jury reaches the wrong decision against the weight of the evidence, if the judge improperly admits irrelevant evidence or excludes relevant evidence, or if any of a variety of other issues lead to an unjust trial, then it may be possible to successfully change a conviction under any one (or more) of these statutes in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Along with challenging our clients’ convictions, we also evaluate the possibility of challenging our clients’ sentences. In some cases, an appeal of our client’s conviction will not be viable, but it will be possible to challenge their sentence under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment) or under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

Put our highly experienced team on your side

Dr. Nick Oberheiden
Dr. Nick Oberheiden

Founder

Attorney-at-Law

Lynette S. Byrd
Lynette S. Byrd

Former DOJ Trial Attorney

Partner

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)

Alternatives to Filing an Appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals

Crucially, in addition to evaluating possible grounds for appeal, when clients engage our firm to challenge their public bribery and corruption convictions, we also promptly assess the viability of all possible alternative strategies. Depending on the circumstances, these may include (and are not necessarily limited to):

  • Motion for Judgment of Acquittal (Rule 29) – A motion for judgment of acquittal, or a Rule 29 motion, asks the judge to set aside a jury’s verdict based on the fact that the evidence was insufficient as a matter of law.
  • Motion for a New Trial (Rule 33) – Rule 33 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure (FRCP) allows district court judges to vacate a jury’s verdict and order a new trial “if the interest of justice so requires.”
  • Motion for Arrest of Judgment (Rule 34) – Rule 34 of the FRCP allows a district court judge to “arrest” a judgment if it lacked jurisdiction over the defendant’s case.
  • Petition for PostConviction Relief – Federal appeals and all of the motions we just discussed are subject to strict deadlines. If the deadline to file a notice of appeal and all motions has passed, it may still be possible to challenge your public corruption or bribery conviction (or sentence) through a petition for post-conviction relief.

FAQs: Appealing a Federal Public Corruption or Bribery Conviction (or Sentence)

How long do I have to appeal a federal public corruption or bribery conviction?

 

The deadline to file a notice of appeal in a federal criminal case is 14 days from the date of the judgment being appealed (i.e., your conviction). If you miss the deadline to file a notice of appeal, you can lose your appellate rights.

How do I appeal a federal public corruption or bribery conviction?

 

The first step for appealing a federal public corruption or bribery conviction is to timely file a notice of appeal in the appropriate court. Even though a notice of appeal is a simple, non-substantive pleading (and forms are even available online), it is still strongly in your best interests to have an experienced appellate lawyer prepare and file your notice of appeal on your behalf. If you make mistakes when preparing or filing a notice of appeal on your own, your notice may not preserve your rights.

What are the odds of success when appealing a federal public corruption or bribery conviction?

 

Whether you were convicted under the Hobbs Act, RICO Act, 18 U.S.C. Section 201, or any other federal public corruption or bribery statute, your odds of success on appeal depend on the circumstances of your case. While some defendants will have clear grounds for filing an appeal, others will not. At Oberheiden P.C., we carefully assess all possible grounds for appeal, and then we devise targeted appellate strategies based on the circumstances at hand.

Should I engage a new law firm for my federal public corruption or bribery appeal?

 

The answer to this question depends on your current firm’s capabilities. While some firms have lawyers who handle federal trials and federal appeals, trial litigation and appellate practice are very different. Additionally, some grounds for appeal (and post-conviction relief) can involve questioning your trial counsel’s decisions at various stages of your case. At Oberheiden P.C., we represent both new and existing clients on appeal, and we are happy to provide you with a complimentary case assessment.

Is it worth appealing my federal public corruption or bribery conviction?

 

At a minimum, it is worth speaking with a federal appellate lawyer about your case. The consequences of a conviction can be substantial, and you owe it to yourself to find out what options you have available. If you have grounds to file an appeal, then you will need your appellate counsel to begin working on your case right away.


Speak with a Federal Appellate Lawyer About Your Public Corruption or Bribery Case in Confidence

If you have been convicted of public corruption or bribery in federal district court, we encourage you to contact us promptly for more information. Call 888-680-1745 or request a complimentary case assessment online to speak with an experienced federal appellate lawyer at Oberheiden P.C. in confidence.

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