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Federal Appeals Lawyers in Michigan

Michigan address – by appointment only:
500 Griswold St #2450
Detroit, MI 48226
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

If you have been convicted and sentenced for a federal criminal offense in Michigan, you have the right to appeal. Depending on the severity of the offense, you could be facing decades in prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and other penalties as well. Invoking your right to appeal the outcome of your trial or the sentence that has been imposed can be a necessary part of your criminal defense strategy.

The federal appeals lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. are here to help.

With their vigorous legal acumen and advocacy, numerous clients in Michigan have gotten their convictions overturned or their sentences reduced.

Oberheiden P.C. Represents Criminal Defendants in a Wide Range of Appeals

Our appellate team has represented clients who have been convicted and sentenced for a variety of federal offenses in Michigan. Just a few of the most representative cases have involved criminal convictions for:

With our experienced legal representation, we have helped people who have been convicted for these offenses and others to appeal their case and secure a better outcome from a higher court.

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)

The Costs of Not Appealing are Substantial

A conviction for a crime, particularly a federal offense, is a serious matter. The sentence that the court will impose can be substantial. While defendants tend to focus on the prison time and the fines that they will have to pay, those penalties are just the tip of the iceberg.

Even after your prison sentence is completed, you will still not be free to do what you want. You will still have to complete a term of probation. Depending on the length of your prison sentence and the offense that led to it, that term of probation can be months or years and can be extremely strict. Not only will you have to complete a list of requirements, such as checking in regularly with a probation officer, completing community service, and paying restitution, but you will also have law enforcement looking for reasons to make an arrest and accuse you of violating your probation.

Additionally, you will also likely face a host of collateral consequences from private parties that do not want to associate with people who have a criminal conviction on their record. You will face additional obstacles in getting a job and finding a place to live, and will be discriminated against in many other ways.

Challenging the prosecutor’s case against you all the way through trial and then to the appellate court system is essential if you want to avoid these serious repercussions.

The Federal Criminal Justice System in Michigan

The appeals process is the last stage of the criminal justice system in Michigan.

The process begins when law enforcement learns that you may have broken the law. If their subsequent investigation uncovers evidence that suggests there is probable cause, prosecutors will present their case to the grand jury. If the grand jury agrees, an indictment will be issued and you will be arrested, booked, and brought to your arraignment hearing. There, the charges will be formally read to you and a date will be set for your criminal trial.

Most criminal charges end in plea bargains. These plea deals often require you to waive your rights to appeal them.

If you take your case to trial, the jury will generally either acquit you or find you guilty of the offense. If they find you guilty, the next step is the sentencing hearing, where the judge will impose the sentence.

All of this happens in a federal district court. In Michigan, there are two district courts:

These district courts largely split the “glove” or “hand” of Michigan down the middle. The Upper Peninsula is in the Western District.

The Eastern District Court has five locations:

The Western District Court has courthouses in four different locations:

If you get convicted in one of these courts and want to appeal, you have to file a Notice of Appeal with the district court within 14 days. The court will then preserve the record of your trial and send it to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. This is the federal appellate court that has jurisdiction over all cases in Michigan, as well as Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

The Sixth Circuit is located in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, in the Potter Stewart Courthouse at 100 East Fifth Street.

What to Expect During an Appeal

The appeals process is not something that many people are familiar with, largely because most of it happens behind closed doors. Importantly, you will not be getting a new trial, at least not right away.

After filing your Notice of Appeal, your appellate lawyers will isolate a grounds for your appeal. This is an error, abuse of discretion, or legal issue that was made during the trial and should be reviewed by a higher court. It is often a potential misapplication or misinterpretation of the law by the district court judge.

Your appeals lawyer will then research and write a legal brief – often dozens of pages long – explaining why this grounds for appeal was an incorrect ruling by the district court judge. The brief will also explain why this problem affected the outcome of your trial and will urge the Sixth Circuit to overrule your conviction or sentence.

The prosecutor will write and submit their own legal brief to the Sixth Circuit, explaining why the grounds for appeal was not a mistake or did not affect your trial.

The Sixth Circuit often issues its ruling based on the legal briefs, alone. However, it may schedule an oral argument to ask pointed questions to the attorneys in the case.

If the Sixth Circuit agrees with you, it will overrule the district court’s decision. It will often remand the case back to the district court with further instructions on how to proceed.

If the Sixth Circuit agrees with the prosecution, it will affirm the district court’s ruling. You can then request the Sixth Circuit to rehear the case with a larger panel of judges. You can also file a petition to the Supreme Court of the United States to review the Sixth Circuit’s ruling.

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Appealing Criminal Convictions in Michigan and Oberheiden P.C.’s Legal Services

What is the Difference Between a Trial Lawyer and an Appellate Lawyer?


Many people who have been convicted for a federal offense in Michigan wonder why they cannot just use their trial lawyer to lodge an appeal.

While you can, it is often wise to get a lawyer who is more familiar and experienced with the appellate process.

Winning at trial and winning on appeal require two very different skill sets. Appellate lawyers have to conduct extremely in-depth research into nuanced legal issues. Trial lawyers focus far more on the facts of the case and presenting them to the jury in persuasive ways.

It is extremely rare for a lawyer to be adept at both.

What Does it Mean to Preserve a Legal Issue for Appeal?


Appeals focus exclusively on the district court’s incorrect decision or mistake. If an issue was not raised during the trial, it generally cannot be appealed because the district court did not handle it, first. This is known as “preserving” an issue during trial: Trial lawyers raise an argument, point out the court’s mistake, or offer their interpretation of the law at district court. When the judge disagrees or rules against them, it creates a valid grounds for the appeal.

Failing to preserve the issue for appeal makes it extremely difficult to raise it with the Sixth Circuit. The appellate courts have no decision to review.

Why Doesn’t Oberheiden P.C. Call Itself the Best Criminal Appeals Firm in Michigan?


That is something that means far more when it comes from our prior clients than when we say it. Many of our prior clients have left testimonials to the same effect, though.

The Appeals Lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. Represent Defendants Who Have Been Convicted and Sentenced in Michigan

If you have been convicted of a crime and sentenced in Michigan and want to appeal your case, the appellate lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. can help. Contact them online or call their law office at 313-462-7972 as soon as you can. The deadlines for appealing a criminal conviction are tight and there is no time to waste.

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