Manatt Partner Quoted on Hyde Amendment Interpretation
"Hyde Ruling Sparks Battle Over Prosecutorial Misconduct"
August 14, 2012—Law360 quoted Manatt's Kenneth Julian, a partner in the firm's Litigation Division, on the Eleventh Circuit's interpretation of the Hyde Amendment, which allows courts to force the government to pay defendants' attorneys' fees and other litigation costs in certain circumstances.
As reported by Law360, a group of former judges and prosecutors are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to define the scope of the Hyde Amendment. Last year the Eleventh Circuit ruled that it only applies when prosecutors bring baseless charges or cases that exceed constitutional constraints, not when they commit other forms of misconduct.
The Hyde Amendment states that a court may award attorneys' fees and other costs to an acquitted defendant if it finds that the prosecution was "vexatious, frivolous or in bad faith." The Eleventh Circuit determined this to mean a case must lack merit.
"What the Eleventh Circuit has done is they've defined everything as frivolous," said Julian, who is a former federal prosecutor.
Supporters of the Eleventh Circuit's interpretation say it provides for a fair evaluation of a case without parsing of a prosecutor's motives. Industry experts said prosecutors often develop an animosity toward the people they prosecute, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
"As a society, we want prosecutors who have a fire in their bellies," Julian said.
Read the article here.