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Appellate Division

The Appellate Division represents the United States on appeal before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit - based in New Orleans, Louisiana - which has jurisdiction over federal appeals from Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. The Appellate Division handles all the appeals from criminal cases this office prosecutes, while the Civil Division handles the civil appeals.

By having appellate specialists handle the criminal appeals, this office differs from most U.S. Attorney’s Offices where the trial prosecutors handle the appellate litigation. AUSAs 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, evidentiary and procedural matters as well as sentencing issues. The appeals arise from diverse crimes, such as health care fraud, other complex fraud, organized drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, alien smuggling and other immigration offenses, violent crimes, civil rights violations, child exploitation, sex trafficking, public corruption and acts of terrorism. In addition to defending convictions from appellate challenges by criminal defendants, the Appellate Division also brings affirmative appeals to the Fifth 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 Fifth Circuit. The Appellate Division also responds to post-conviction matters in the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Texas, such as prisoner petitions challenging conditions of confinement under 28 U.S.C. § 2241 and 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 and sentencing or on an emergency basis during trial.

The Appellate Division routinely has one of the top-three highest appellate caseloads in the nation among the 94 United States Attorney’s Offices. According to the U.S. Attorneys’ Annual Statistical Report for Fiscal Year 2023, the SDTX had 304 criminal appellate filings and 326 criminal appeals closed.

For current docket information of cases before the Fifth Circuit, please visit the Fifth Circuit Web Site at

Updated March 6, 2024