The District Court awarded attorney’s fees and costs under the Hyde Amendment on the grounds that the prosecution was frivolous and in bad faith. The Third Circuit Court reversed and ruled the District Court abused its discretion because the award was not based on the type of pervasive prosecutorial misconduct with which the Hyde Amendment is concerned.

The Third Circuit Court held that the Government’s prosecution was not frivolous—a high bar requiring that the prosecution be “utterly without foundation in law or fact.” Nor was the prosecution brought or maintained in bad faith—an equally high bar requiring an objective showing of “dishonest purpose or moral obliquity.”