The Appellate Unit is an integral part of the United States Attorney’s Office, and is responsible for defending, on appeal, convictions and judgments rendered in federal district court. Appellate briefs and arguments by the United States must be of the highest quality and integrity because United States Court of Appeals decisions are binding on the United States, and its agencies, officers and employees in each Circuit. Appellate decisions may also have nationwide impact, and are the precursors to binding Supreme Court decisions. Consequently, the Appellate Unit writes or reviews every brief submitted by our office to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (the federal appellate court that oversees cases in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota). This appellate process seeks to raise and ensure the highest quality of appellate practice.
Additionally, the Appellate Unit monitors and communicates significant legal developments to attorneys in the U.S. Attorney's Office, ensuring consistency in the appellate positions taken within the district and throughout the United States. The Appellate Unit also reports, consults and works in concert with the Department of Justice in deciding when to seek appellate review of trial-level rulings adverse to the United States, and prepares or reviews all recommendations regarding appeals.
View a map of the federal court circuits and districts.
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The Briefing Room highlights the priorities of U.S. Attorneys' offices across the country.