United States v. Peterson

71 F. Supp. 2d 695 (S.D. Tex. 1999)



In criminal cases, to recover attorney fees, the Hyde Amendment places the burden on the defendant to prove that the position of the United States was vexatious, frivolous or in bad faith, unless the court finds that special circumstances make such an award unjust.


Defendants were tried on criminal charges related to massive insurance fraud. After five months of testimony by government witnesses, a mistrial was declared because an insufficient number of jurors remained to reach a verdict. The government dismissed the indictment. Defendants applied for attorneys' fees under the Hyde Amendment. The court held that the burden was on defendants to prove that the government's prosecution was vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith. Under applicable procedural limitations, one defendant failed to prove his eligibility for attorney's fees under the EAJA. The court drew upon its observation of the lengthy trial in holding the government prosecuted the remaining defendants in good faith. The court denied defendants' motion for attorney's fees.


Are defendants entitled to recover attorney's fees pursuant to the Hyde Amendment?




The court denied defendants' motion for attorney's fees under the Hyde Amendment, because defendants did not qualify for reimbursement and/or because the government's prosecution was not vexatious or frivolous.

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