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Criminal Appeals Section

Section Overview

AUSAs in the Criminal Appeals Section supervise or handle all of the Office's matters before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, comprising approximately 300 appellate briefs and 110 oral arguments per year. These cases involve some of the most challenging legal issues in criminal law, including frequent constitutional issues, affirmative government appeals, appeals involving issues of first impression, and efforts to obtain en banc review. AUSAs in the section have also worked closely with the Solicitor General's Office to determine which cases raise significant legal issues that are worthy of government appeal, en banc rehearing, or Supreme Court review. While AUSAs from the other sections write the briefs for and argue many of their own appeals, AUSAs from the Criminal Appeals Section have editorial control over all of the briefs, hold "moot courts" for all the oral arguments, and both write and argue some of the more significant cases.

Section Leadership

L. Ashley Aull

L. Ashley Aull is the Chief of the Criminal Appeals Section. AUSA Aull received her B.A. from Harvard College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She clerked for the Honorable Sandra S. Ikuta of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Honorable Harriet O’Neill of the Supreme Court of Texas. After several years in private practice, she joined the United States Attorney’s Office in 2012. She became the Deputy Chief of the Criminal Appeals Section in 2016 and the Chief of the Criminal Appeals Section in 2017. During that time, she has led some of the Office’s most complex and high-profile Ninth Circuit appeals. She has argued over 40 cases (including one before the en banc Court) and briefed dozens more, while editing hundreds of briefs drafted by other attorneys.  Meanwhile, she has served on the faculty at the National Advocacy Center and as an expert on appellate advocacy at the ABA Litigation Section's national conference. In 2016, she received the Federal Bar Association's Younger Federal Attorney Award and was appointed as an Appellate Lawyer Representative to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.  She currently serves as the Ninth Circuit representative on the Department of Justice’s Appellate Chiefs Working Group and as a member of the Ninth Circuit’s Law Clerk Resources Group.

Section Contact Information

The United States Attorney's Office
Central District of California
Criminal Division
Attn: Criminal Appeals Section
312 North Spring Street
Los Angeles, California 90012

Updated February 26, 2020

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