The Hyde Amendment gives criminal defendants the chance to win attorney's fees and costs when "the court finds that the position of the United States was vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith." After his acquittal in the Southern District of Florida, Ali Shaygan sought to recover his attorney's fees and costs under the Hyde Amendment. The district court granted him the award, noting that the prosecutors "acted vexatiously and in bad faith in prosecuting Dr. Shaygan for events occurring after the original indictment was filed and by knowingly and willfully disobeying the orders of this Court." On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit reversed, holding that even if a prosecutor had a subjective hostility toward the defendant, fees were not appropriate as long as the charge was not frivolous. The defendant has petitioned the Supreme Court to grant a writ of certiorari. In support of his petition, former federal judges, federal prosecutors and members of Congress filed a brief as amici curiae. In it, they argue that the Eleventh Circuit's holding "is a bolt from the blue" that "will disempower district judges, and send a clear signal that even grave prosecutorial misconduct will generally be overlooked, given the relatively lax standards for instituting federal prosecutions."
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