The Justice Department doesn't want the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a dispute over alleged prosecutorial misconduct, urging the court to keep in place a ruling that voided an award of more than $600,000 in attorney fees to a Miami doctor who was acquitted in a drug case.
Responding to the Justice Department today, Dr. Ali Shaygan's lawyers continued their effort to convince the high court to review the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit to dismiss the legal fee award.
At issue is this: Under what scenario is a criminal defendant allowed to recoup legal fees under the Hyde Amendment? Federal law says a defendant can try to obtain fees if the legal position of the United States was vexatious, frivolous or in bad faith. But those terms are not defined.
The Justice Department said in its Supreme Court papers that a defendant must show at the start that a case itself should never have been brought in the first place. Shaygan's chief lawyer, David Markus, said today in response that the government is attempting to craft a new provision under the Hyde Amendment. Shaygan's brief is here.