Illinois Federal Appeals Attorney - Federal Lawyer
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Illinois Federal Appeals Attorney

Illinois address – by appointment only:
205 North Michigan Avenue Suite 810
Chicago, IL 60601
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

In Illinois, you have the legal right to appeal a conviction for a federal offense. While you will not immediately receive another trial, you can at least get a higher federal court to review alleged defects or mistakes made during your trial. However, you need to act quickly to invoke your right to appeal, and it is essential to have an experienced federal appeals attorney on your side.

The federal criminal appeals attorneys at Oberheiden P.C. have helped numerous criminal defendants in Illinois appeal their conviction and get it overturned by an appeals court.

The Federal Criminal Justice System: Investigation to Trial

By the time you are charged with a federal crime in Illinois, law enforcement has likely already put a lot of work into your case.

After they become aware of signs of a potential criminal offense, law enforcement agents will investigate. As they gather more incriminating evidence, they will present their case to an Illinois grand jury. If the grand jury agrees that there is probable cause to believe that you committed a federal crime, it will issue an indictment.

An arrest warrant will be issued, you will be brought into custody, booked, and brought to your arraignment where you will be formally presented with the charges against you and a trial date will be set.

Between your arraignment and trial, prosecutors and your defense attorneys will gather evidence and start plea negotiations. Most federal criminal defendants end up taking a plea deal that requires them to waive their right to appeal.

If you take your case to trial you will either be acquitted or convicted. If you are acquitted, your case ends and you are free to go. If you are convicted, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled. There, the federal judge will impose a sentence.

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)

All of This Happens in an Illinois District Court

From arraignment through your sentencing hearing, you will be in an Illinois district court. There are three districts in Illinois:

  1. Northern
  2. Central
  3. Southern

Northern District Court

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois is itself split into two divisions:

  1. The Eastern Division
  2. The Western Division

The Eastern Division is located in the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse at 219 South Dearborn Street, Chicago. It covers the following counties in the state:

  • Cook
  • DuPage
  • McHenry
  • Grundy
  • Kane
  • Kendall
  • La Salle
  • Lake
  • Will

The Western Division is located in the Stanley J. Roszkowski United States Courthouse, at 327 South Church Street, Rockford. It has jurisdiction over federal cases that originate in the following Illinois counties:

  • Boone
  • Carroll
  • De Kalb
  • Jo Daviess
  • Lee
  • Ogle
  • Stephenson
  • Whiteside
  • Winnebago

Central District Court

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois has four divisions, named after the city in which the courthouse is located:

  1. Peoria (100 N.E. Monroe Street)
  2. Urbana (201 S. Vine Street)
  3. Springfield (600 E. Monroe Street)
  4. Rock Island (211 19th Street)

The Peoria division has jurisdiction over cases from the following counties:

  • Fulton
  • Livingston
  • Marshall
  • McLean
  • Peoria
  • Putnam
  • Stark
  • Tazewell
  • Woodford

The Urbana division covers:

  • Champaign
  • Coles
  • Douglas
  • Edgar
  • Ford
  • Iroquois
  • Kankakee
  • Macon
  • Moultrie
  • Piatt
  • Vermilion

Springfield covers the following counties:

  • Adams
  • Brown
  • Cass
  • Christian
  • De Witt
  • Greene
  • Logan
  • Macoupin
  • Mason
  • Menard
  • Montgomery
  • Morgan
  • Pike
  • Sangamon
  • Scott
  • Shelby

Finally, the Rock Island division has jurisdiction over:

  • Bureau
  • Hancock
  • Henderson
  • Henry
  • Knox
  • McDonough
  • Mercer
  • Rock Island
  • Schuyler
  • Warren

Southern District Court

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois has two divisions:

  1. Benton
  2. East St. Louis

The Benton division is located at 301 West Main Street, Benton, and covers:

  • Alexander
  • Clark
  • Clay
  • Crawford
  • Cumberland
  • Edwards
  • Effingham
  • Franklin
  • Gallatin
  • Hamilton
  • Hardin
  • Jackson
  • Jasper
  • Jefferson
  • Johnson
  • Lawrence
  • Massac
  • Perry
  • Pope
  • Pulaski
  • Richland
  • Saline
  • Union
  • Wabash
  • Wayne
  • White
  • Williamson

The East St. Louis division is located at 750 Missouri Avenue, East St. Louis, Illinois, and covers the following counties:

  • Bond
  • Calhoun
  • Clinton
  • Fayette
  • Jersey
  • Madison
  • Marion
  • Monroe
  • Randolph
  • St. Clair
  • Washington

Appeals in Illinois are Heard by the Seventh Circuit

Convictions from any of these three district courts can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. This is the federal intermediate appellate court that has jurisdiction over all of Illinois, as well as Indiana and Wisconsin. It is located in Chicago, Illinois, at the Everett McKinley Dirksen United States Courthouse at 219 S. Dearborn Street.

What to Expect During Your Appeal

After you have been convicted and sentenced, you need to move fast if you want to appeal. You have to file a Notice of Appeal with the district court that convicted you within 14 days. This informs law enforcement that the case is not over and makes the district court forward the record of your trial to the Seventh Circuit.

Your appeals lawyers will then closely examine your case and determine whether you have a strong ground for an appeal. This is a mistake or abuse of discretion that was made during your trial. It can be:

  • The judge kept you from fully defending yourself
  • The judge misapplied the law
  • The law is ambiguous or unsettled
  • There was jury misconduct
  • No jury could have convicted you based on the evidence that was presented

Your appeals lawyer will then research and write a legal brief – often dozens of pages long – that explains why this was a mistake, how it affected your trial, and urges the Seventh Circuit to overturn your conviction or at least give you a new trial.

The prosecutor will also be submitting their own brief, urging the Seventh Circuit to affirm your case.

In some cases, the Seventh Circuit judges will schedule an oral argument to press the attorneys on the finer details of their arguments.

Typically, though, an appeal is decided based on the briefs and the trial record, alone.

If the Seventh Circuit agrees with your arguments, it will likely remand the case back to the district court with instructions on how to proceed. This often involves holding a new trial.

If the Seventh Circuit agrees with the prosecutor, your conviction and sentence will be affirmed. You can request a rehearing with a larger panel of Seventh Circuit judges, or can petition for a review by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Some FAQs About Oberheiden P.C. and Appealing Criminal Convictions in Illinois

Do I Really Need an Appeals Lawyer?


Yes. You absolutely need a lawyer if you want to file an appeal, and it really helps if your lawyer is experienced in appellate cases.

If you represented yourself during your trial, you know how difficult it is. On appeal, it is far more challenging. Rather than litigating the facts of your case, you will be arguing over very specific and nuanced aspects of the law. This requires way more legal research and writing than you had to do during the trial.

If you were represented by a lawyer at trial, odds are that he or she focuses their practice on trial work. Trials are very different than appeals, and require a different set of skills. They are so different that it is very rare for a lawyer to be good at both. That is why law firms generally have separate appellate and trial teams.

Can I Really Appeal My Case to the U.S. Supreme Court?


If the Seventh Circuit affirms your conviction and sentence, one option that you have is to appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States. You do this through what is known as a Petition for Writ of Certiorari, which urges the Court to review your case and explains why it should agree to do so. While the Court only accepts around 3 percent of the petitions that it receives, depending on the facts of your case, this can still be a worthwhile endeavor to pursue. If your case involves an unsettled area of the law or if the Seventh Circuit’s ruling creates a circuit split – meaning there are now conflicting or even contradictory interpretations of the same legal issues among the circuit courts – your odds of getting your case heard in the highest court of the land could be significantly higher.

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


While our law firm is staffed exclusively with senior-level attorneys – many of whom only came to the defense side after long careers as prosecutors and investigators in some of the same federal law enforcement agencies that are likely pursuing your case – and we have a long track record of successful appeals across the country, this is still the sort of thing that we prefer to let our prior clients say about our firm. Many of them have left testimonials to the same effect on our website.

The Federal Appeals Attorney at Oberheiden P.C. Represent Defendants in Illinois

If you have been convicted for a federal offense in Illinois, you have the option to continue to fight for your rights and your freedom. The appeals lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. have helped defendants who have been convicted and sentenced for:

As well as many other federal offenses.

Contact our law firm online or call our law offices at (888) 680-1745 right away so we can file your Notice of Appeal and determine the best way to move forward.

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