Acquitted couple fails to get attorneys' fees paid
Thursday, October 14th 1999, 12:00 am
News On 6
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- The Horeys said they didn't lie to an
insurance company and certainly didn't set their house on fire. So
when they were found innocent in federal court, they wanted to be
reimbursed for attorneys' fees.
But a judge has rejected the Horeys' request, saying they did
not prove that prosecutors acted in bad faith.
It was the first "Hyde Amendment" case filed in Tulsa federal
court to require a judicial ruling. A similar action in another
case was settled out of court earlier this year.
U.S. Chief District Judge Terry Kern found that Samuel Horey Jr.
and Paula Horey did not show that prosecutors acted in a
"vexatious" or "frivolous" manner in their case against the
pair for alleged arson and conspiracy to commit wire and mail
Under the 1997 Hyde Amendment, citizens can be reimbursed up to
$125 an hour for attorneys' fees in unwarranted federal criminal
Tulsa attorney Stan Monroe, who represented Horey, said he was
very disappointed in Kern's decision. He said the prosecutors
lacked evidence to support their case.
The Horeys were accused of burning their home in April 1995 and
telling an insurance company that certain items were destroyed or
damaged when they had not been.
Last year, the Horeys were acquitted of all charges. It was the
only acquittal in U.S. District Court in Tulsa in 1998.
In his order, Kern said he would not review the government's
notes to determine if the arson charges were filed in retaliation
for the couple's refusal to plead guilty to other charges.
"There are insufficient indications of improper motives by the
government to justify such a review," he wrote. Prosecutors had
sufficient reasons to prosecute the Horeys, he said.
"This court cannot find that a reasonable prosecutor should
have concluded that the applicable law and the available evidence
were insufficient to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt," Kern wrote.