The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion in United States v. Lain, Jr. on Thursday, May 12, 2011.
The Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Petitioner was charged with willfully transferring a firearm across state lines without the proper license to another individual who also lacked the proper license. The case was ultimately dismissed by a jury, and Petitioner sought attorney’s fees from the government. Petitioner claims that the district court erred by failing to grant him attorney’s fees under the Hyde Amendment, “which permits defendants in criminal cases to recover attorney’s fees when the Government’s position was vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith.” However, the Court found that the district court did not abuse its discretion in concluding that a legal and factual basis existed for the charge. Accordingly, the government’s prosecution was not frivolous and Petitioner is not entitled to attorney’s fees under the Hyde Amendment.