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Federal Appeals Attorneys in New Orleans

New Orleans address – by appointment only:
3014 Dauphine Street Suite 100
New Orleans, LA 70117
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

While a conviction for any criminal offense is a serious matter, if you get convicted for a federal crime then the penalties are likely to be even more severe than if it was on a state charge. The good news is that, if you get convicted for a federal offense in New Orleans, Louisiana, you have the right to appeal. By getting a federal appellate court to review your conviction, your sentence, or both, you can continue to fight for your rights and your future.

However, you have to invoke this right, and you have to do it quickly.

The federal appeals lawyers at the national law firm Oberheiden P.C. have helped numerous defendants in New Orleans continue to challenge the criminal charges against them, even after a conviction in district court.

Why An Appeal Can Be Necessary

People get wrongfully convicted for criminal offenses all the time in America. Wrongful convictions put innocent people in jail, subject them to steep fines, and tarnish their reputation in ways that will cause them pain for decades after their sentence has been served. Unfortunately, you can be wrongfully convicted for a variety of reasons, including:

  • The judge applied the wrong law or acted in a way that was improper
  • The law is unsettled or ambiguous
  • The judge abused his or her discretion or power
  • The evidence could not possibly have supported the jury’s guilty verdict
  • The judge made a decision that infringed on your rights

If any of these issues happened during your case, it can serve as a ground for your appeal. If you and your appellate lawyer can convince the appeals court judge that one of these problems led to your conviction, your case may be overturned and you may get a new trial.

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 Can Be Significant

Appealing your conviction or sentence can be daunting. Prolonging your case after such a long time in court already is often not what defendants want to do.

However, accepting the penalties of your conviction will drastically alter the course of your life. Particularly for serious offenses, the prison sentence alone can take up well over a decade of your future. Then there will be the monetary sanctions – often in the form of a criminal fine, payment of victim restitution, disgorgement of illegally-obtained profits, and other financial penalties. There will also be a term of probation that can be surprisingly strict. Violating any of the terms of your probation can put you right back into the criminal justice system.

Finally, there are the collateral consequences of a federal criminal conviction. Many defendants forget about these or do not fully appreciate how difficult they will be. Collateral consequences of a conviction are those that come from private parties rather than the government. They include hardships like:

  • Struggling to find a job
  • Social stigmatization
  • Difficulties getting a mortgage, apartment, or loan

By appealing the outcome of your trial, you can try to avoid these devastating penalties.

The Federal Court System in New Orleans

If you get arrested and charged with a federal offense in New Orleans, the federal criminal justice system will handle your case. From your arraignment through your trial and sentencing hearing, you will be in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana at 500 Poydras Street in downtown New Orleans.

If you get convicted and decide that you want to appeal your case, your appeal will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. This is the Circuit Court that has jurisdiction to hear all of the appeals that are made in Louisiana, as well as those made in Texas and Mississippi. The Fifth Circuit’s courthouse is also in downtown New Orleans, right next door to the district court at 600 Camp Street.

If the Fifth Circuit does not overturn your case, you can ask them to rehear it with a larger panel of judges. You can also petition for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear your case.

What to Expect During Your Appeal

Criminal defendants tend to be far more familiar with the trial process than with the appeals process. The criminal trial, after all, is frequently portrayed in movies and TV shows and in books. Appeals are rarely shown because, at least when compared to the trial, there is very little drama or action.

After your sentencing hearing, you and your appeals lawyer will file a Notice of Appeal with the Eastern District Court of Louisiana, where your trial was held. This informs the court and the prosecutor that you intend to keep fighting and makes the District Court send the record of your trial to the Fifth Circuit.

Your lawyer will then identify a grounds for your appeal. This is the particular issue that you are claiming led to your wrongful conviction and that you want the Fifth Circuit to review.

This is important: The Fifth Circuit’s review will be confined to this particular issue. You will not receive a new trial in the appellate court.

Your lawyer will then conduct in-depth research into the point you are appealing and will write a legal brief. This brief:

  • Summarizes what happened in the District Court
  • Explains why this led to your wrongful conviction
  • Urges the Fifth Circuit to overturn your conviction or alter your sentence

The prosecutor will also be writing and submitting a similar legal brief to the Fifth Circuit, urging the judges there to uphold your conviction.

Occasionally, the Fifth Circuit will schedule an oral argument so the judges can press the prosecutor and your appellate lawyer on the finer details of their arguments.

If the Fifth Circuit agrees with the prosecutor, your conviction will be affirmed. If the court agrees with the arguments made by your appeals lawyer, the judges will often remand the case back to the District Court with instructions on how to proceed.

Frequently Asked Questions About Federal Appeals and Oberheiden P.C.’s Legal Services, Answered

Will I Get a New Trial When I Appeal?


Not right away, no.

A common misconception about appealing a criminal conviction is that the appeals court will conduct a brand new trial. If this were what happened, then everyone would appeal their conviction and the trial held by the district court would be meaningless. It would also create confusion if the two trials ended with different results.

Instead, your appeal asks for a review of your case. You have the burden of pointing to an issue that got you wrongfully convicted and convincing the appellate judges that the only way to protect your rights is to overrule the district court’s decision on that issue.

If you manage to win your appeal, your case will be remanded, or sent back, to the district court with instructions for how to proceed. In some cases, this requires an entirely new trial.

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


While it might seem as if there is no reason not to tap the same lawyer that handled your trial to handle your appeal, that is not always a wise move to make.

Trials and appeals are very different. Trial lawyers generally make a fact-intensive case to a jury made of non-lawyers. Appeals lawyers make legally nuanced arguments to legal experts, namely judges. The subject matter and the way that the cases are presented require very different skill sets. It is extremely rare to find an attorney who is adept at both stages of the criminal justice system.

Should I Hire a Firm With Both a Trial and an Appeals Team?


It is often wise to hire a criminal defense firm that can handle both your trial as well as your appeal. Many firms, including Oberheiden P.C., have dedicated trial lawyers and appellate lawyers. This lets our attorneys focus on what they do best so you get the legal representation you need.

However, it also means that your appeals team monitors your trial well before they need to step in. Their experience and insight can help your trial team preserve the correct issues for appeal, setting you up for success in the Fifth Circuit if things do not go your way in the district court.

Why Don’t You Call Your Firm the Best in New Orleans?


Statements like these often come off as haughty and tacky, even if they are accurate. We prefer to point potential clients to the testimonials that our past clients have left about the legal services we were able to offer them.

Appeals Cases Oberheiden P.C. Handles in New Orleans

The appellate lawyers at Oberheiden P.C. handle a wide variety of cases on appeal in New Orleans, including:

If you have been convicted for one of these or any other federal offenses, you should seriously consider appealing your case to the Fifth Circuit. Doing so can prolong your case, but it is the only way that you can challenge the outcome of your trial.

Call the Oberheiden P.C. law offices at (888) 680-1745 or contact us online to get started on your case. Do not delay: The window for invoking your right to appeal your trial is very small and paperwork has to be filed immediately.

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