Donald H. Heller

Of Counsel
TEL: (916) 974-3500
FAX: (916) 520-3497


Queens College, Flushing, NY (B.A. 1966)
Brooklyn Law School, Brooklyn, NY (J.D. 1969)


State Bar of California

State Bar of New York

U.S. District Court:

  • Eastern District of California
  • Northern District of California
  • Central District of California
  • Southern District of California
  • Southern District of New York

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Pro Hoc Vice in multiple U.S. District Courts

Pro Hoc Vice in the Eastern District of New York, Alaska and the District of Massachusetts


Donald H. Heller was Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office (1969-1973) and had the exceptional experience participating in the investigation and trial of more than three hundred court and jury trials involving almost every type of general criminal offense including but not limited homicide, burglary, robbery, extortion, assault, attempted murder, rape and reckless endangerment.

Mr. Heller was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California (1973 to 1977) and prosecuted almost every possible federal criminal offense including but not limited to wire and mail fraud; false statements to government officials and agents; tax evasion; federal firearms violations; perjury; bank robbery, federal drug offenses; conspiracies involving defrauding the United States in healthcare matters; and federal environmental offenses including the prosecution of South Pacific Railroad in respect to the pollution of the Sacramento River near Dunsmuir, California; successfully prosecuted the first federal civil rights crime ever charged in the Eastern District of California arising out of a despicable cross-burning perpetrated by three individuals on the front lawn of the home of an African American family who moved into a white neighborhood in Stockton, CA; and the successful prosecution and conviction with U.S. Attorney Dwayne Keyes of Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme for the attempted assassination of President Gerald R. Ford in Sacramento in 1975.

Mr. Heller was a Special Prosecutor in both the State and Federal Courts of California on four occasions, including the successful prosecution of a complicated federal narcotics conspiracy case; a tax evasion case; and two Department of Justice lawyers for criminal contempt; As a state special prosecutor in El Dorado County California, Mr. Heller conducted a grand jury investigation into the business affairs of a county official in a conflict of interest investigation. Special Master appointed by the Presiding Judge of the Placer County Superior Court to conduct an investigation as to a possible conflict of interest on the part of the local public defender’s office in the representation of an indigent defendant.

Private practice since 1977. Mr. Heller has tried to verdict complex criminal cases in both the state and federal courts, including but not limited to murder, embezzlement, forgery, mail and wire fraud, tax evasion, robbery, Medicare and Medi-Cal Fraud, money laundering, RICO and Continuing Criminal Enterprise and securities fraud. Mr. Heller has successfully represented individuals in federal and state criminal investigations and has on multiple occasions avoided prosecutions or successfully negotiated favorable plea agreements.

Mr. Heller has represented clients in appeals of civil judgments and criminal convictions to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Courts of Appeal and Supreme Court of California and the United States Supreme Court.  Mr. Heller has had substantial appellate experience as both a federal prosecutor in representing the United States on appeals to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and in his thirty plus years of private law practice and has prepared more than thirty appellate briefs and writs of mandate.

Mr. Heller joined Matheny Sears as Of Counsel in 2014 after years of a collaborative association in both complex civil and white collar criminal cases since 2000.  Mr. Heller brings to Matheny the background of trying hundreds of civil and criminal cases to jury verdict and hundreds of court trials over the past 45 years.  Mr. Heller has represented hundreds of clients in complex financial litigation in the state and federal courts successfully defending and prosecuting with stakes in sums of millions and hundreds of million dollars.


Martindale-Hubbell, AV Preeminent Lawyer

American Board of Trial Advocates

Best Lawyers in America in the areas of White Collar and Non-White Criminal Defense for more than 15 years

Sacramento Business Journal as one of the Region’s Top Lawyers in criminal defense in Northern California for multiple years

Super Lawyers for Northern California in White Collar Criminal Defense in San Francisco Magazine for multiple years

Master Emeritus at the Anthony M. Kennedy, American Inn of Court at Pacific McGeorge