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Law Professor Says Justice Dept. Needs a Better Compliance Program

By Professor Ellen S. Podgor
White Collar Crime Prof Blog

justice-logo1A “not guilty” verdict was returned on a drug case in Miami, but what happened during the investigation and prosecution of this case has now resulted in an award of $601,795.88 under the Hyde Amendment.

The Hyde Amendment allows for attorney fees when a “prevailing criminal defendant” can demonstrate “that the position the government took in prosecuting him was vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith.” (see Order, infra, citing U.S. v. Gilbert).

Hon. Alan S. Gold, in the Southern District of Florida, issued an Order awarding these attorney fees and enjoined the US Attorneys who practice in that court from “engaging in future witness tampering investigation of defense lawyers and team members in any ongoing prosecution before [this judge] without first bringing such matters to [the judge’s] attention in an ex parte proceeding.”

The judge also issued a public reprimand against the US Attorneys office and specifically 2 AUSAs. And it does not end there, as the judge also makes it clear that a disciplinary body needs to review this matter. (Court’s Order – Download 08-20112 (Shaygan) Prosecutorial Misconduct FINAL )

The judge presents a thoughtful Order that gives credit to the USA’s office for taking “immediate efforts to investigate” this matter when it came to light.

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