US District Court
When you face criminal charges in Ohio or Northern Kentucky, you may be charged with either a state-level crime or a federal offense. If you have been charged with a federal crime, then your criminal court process and trial takes place in federal court. The federal trial courts across the country are known as U.S. District Courts
For Cincinnati, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio, federal charges are addressed in the Southern District of Ohio. The Northern District of Ohio has offices in Akron, Cleveland, Toledo, and Youngstown. The Eastern District of Kentucky, which has an office in Covington, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. Each of these districts also has its own federal bankruptcy courts.
Court Process Information
Our Cincinnati criminal defense attorneys at Luftman, Heck & Associates are highly experienced in handling cases in the U.S. District Courts, including the Eastern District of Kentucky. If you are facing charges in U.S. District Court anywhere in Ohio or northern Kentucky or in another local Ohio court, contact Luftman, Heck & Associates right away.
The Northern District of Ohio
The Northern District of Ohio has four locations:
- The John F. Seiberling Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in Akron
- Carl B. Stokes U.S. Court House in Cleveland
- James M. Ashley and Thomas W. L. Ashley U.S. Courthouse in Toledo
- Thomas D. Lambros Federal Building & US Courthouse in Youngstown
The Chief Judge is Patricia A. Gaughan. She was appointed on June 1, 2017. There are 11 other judges and seven magistrate judges within the Northern District. Magistrate judges hear and decide preliminary matters, while district judges preside over trials.
The Clerk of the Court is Sandy Opacich. She is the chief executive officer for non-judicial functions of the court and has numerous administrative responsibilities. Within the clerk of the court’s officer are a number of other employees who support your responsibilities and enable the court to function smoothly.
The Southern District of Ohio
The Southern District of Ohio has locations in:
- Potter Stewart U.S. Courthouse in Cincinnati
- Joseph P. Kinneary U.S. Courthouse in Columbus
- Federal Building in Dayton
The Southern District’s Chief Judge is Edmund A. Sargus, Jr., who was appointed in 1996. The district has four other district judges, seven senior judges, and nine magistrate judges. Richard W. Nagel is the Clerk of the Court.
The Eastern District of Kentucky
The Eastern District of Kentucky has locations in Lexington, Ashland, Covington, Frankfort, London, and Pikeville. The Chief Judge is Karen K. Caldwell. There are five other district judges, three senior judges, and four magistrate judges. The Clerk of the Court is Robert R. Carr.
Our Covington Criminal Defense Attorneys Are Well Versed in Local Court Rules
While the Northern and Southern District Courts of Ohio and the Eastern District of Kentucky are all federal trial courts, they are separate systems. Each court has its own local rules in relation to civil, criminal, and bankruptcy proceedings.
When you must go to trial in one of these districts, it is possible to review the local rules and the Federal Rules of Evidence and Procedure online. However, attempting to learn how to manage court documents, filing requirements, pre-trial motions, discovery rules, and more is time-consuming and unlikely to lead to a strong showing in court. Without prior knowledge of these rules, you are likely to make costly mistakes.
Instead of handling your case yourself, it is best to contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in the district courts. This ensures everything is drafted, filed, and argued properly the first time, enabling you to go through the court process efficiently.
Let Us Guide You Through the Federal Criminal Court Process
If you are arrested or under investigation for a federal crime, then it is important to speak with a federal criminal defense lawyer about the criminal court process. If you are facing misdemeanor charges, the prosecutor can file a complaint and begin the process. If you are investigated for a federal crime, then the prosecutor must convene a grand jury, which listens to evidence and determines whether or not to indict you.
If you are charged with a crime, whether a misdemeanor or through a felony indictment, the next step is your arraignment. This is your initial hearing and is presided over by a magistrate judge. You will hear the official charges against you, your rights, and then you must enter a plea. This is also the time in which you learn how you will be released from jail. Typically, you will be assigned a certain amount of bail, which you must be to secure your release. Your bail bond is also a financial security for the court to ensure you return for your hearing.
After your arraignment, your Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer will actively participate in discovery, which is the process of the two parties requesting information from one another. This is the time in which your lawyer will continue their independent investigation into your case, gather and analyze evidence, and will determine the strongest possible defense.
During discovery or once it is over, your attorney and the prosecutor may negotiate a plea bargain. If you accept a plea deal, you plead guilty in exchange for a predetermined sentence.
If you have not accepted a plea, then within 14 days of initial appearance, the court must hold a preliminary hearing, This is like a miniature trial, through which the judge determines whether there is probable cause for the case to continue. If there is not probable cause that you committed the crime, then the judge will dismiss the charge.
Following a preliminary hearing, your local defense attorney in Cincinnati may file and defend against pre-trial motions. Some common pre-trial motions are a motion to dismiss, motion for summary judgment, and motions to exclude certain types of evidence.
If at this point the case has not been resolved, then your federal criminal defense lawyer will proceed with a trial. If you convicted, the next step is to go through sentencing or appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Arrested for a Federal Crime? Contact Luftman, Heck & Associates
If you are under investigation for a federal crime, have been arrested, or have been charged, you need to contact an experienced Cincinnati criminal defense attorney. At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our criminal defense lawyers are highly experienced in both local and federal courts. We will build you the strongest defense possible and fight for your exoneration in court.