Chris Bodnar, Appellate Coordinator
The Appellate Division represents the United States on appeal before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit - based in Atlanta, GA - which has jurisdiction over federal appeals from Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. The Appellate Division handles all the appeals from criminal cases prosecuted by this office, while the Civil Division handles the civil appeals.
By having appellate specialists handle the criminal appeals, this office differs from many United States Attorney’s Offices, where the trial prosecutors handle the appellate litigation. The Assistant United States Attorneys in the Appellate Division write the appellate briefs and present oral arguments on a variety of complex and novel issues involving the constitution, statutory construction, and evidentiary and procedural matters. The appeals arise from diverse federal offenses, such as complex fraud, drug and gun trafficking, violent crimes, and immigration crimes. In addition to defending convictions from appellate challenge by criminal defendants, the Appellate Division also brings affirmative appeals to the Eleventh Circuit from adverse district court decisions, after consultation with the Solicitor General’s Office and the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Not all of the Appellate Division’s work is before the Eleventh Circuit. The Appellate Division also responds to post-conviction matters in the Southern District of Alabama, such as motions to vacate, set aside, or correct sentences filed under 28 U.S.C. § 2255. In addition, the Appellate Division advises the trial prosecutors on significant legal issues that arise in the investigation of their cases, in preparation for trial, or on an emergency basis during trial. Further, the Appellate Division advises the office of developments in criminal law, and assists in the formation of office policies that address enforcement of that law.