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United States v. Heald

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

May 8, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA PLAINTIFF
v.
MICHAEL FRANCIS HEALD DEFENDANT

          ORDER

          Kristine G. Baker, United States District Court Judge

         On October 31, 2016, after a lengthy trial, a jury found defendant Michael Francis Heald not guilty of all charges against him in this criminal action (Dkt. No. 154). Before the Court is Mr. Heald's petition for award of reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation expenses (Dkt. No. 160). This is a Hyde Amendment petition. See Hyde Amendment, Pub. L. No. 105-119, § 617, 111 Stat. 2440, 2519 (1997), codified in a statutory note at 18 U.S.C.A. § 3006A. The government filed a combined motion to dismiss and response in opposition to Mr. Heald's Hyde Amendment motion for attorney's fees and costs (Dkt. No. 192).

         For the following reasons, the Court grants the government's motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 192) and denies Mr. Heald's petition for attorney's fees and expenses (Dkt. No. 160). The Court also enters a contemporaneous Order denying Mr. Heald's latest motion for an extension of time (Dkt. No. 210).

         I. Procedural History

         Prior to trial, this Court issued rulings on a co-defendant's motion for bill of particulars (Dkt. No. 60); a co-defendant's sealed motion pertaining to the indictment (Dkt. No. 126); a co-defendant's oral motion to sever (Dkt. No. 132); and numerous pretrial matters (Dkt. No. 129). The Court studied carefully pretrial the indictment and allegations made by the government when making these rulings. This Court then presided over a 14 day trial (Dkt. Nos. 133-137, 140-46). The parties presented testimony from numerous witnesses and introduced many exhibits for consideration (Dkt. Nos. 148-49). Jurors rendered acquittals as to co-defendants Mr. Heald and Bradley Stephen Paul on day 15 of the trial (Dkt. No. 147). The Court entered the judgment of acquittal on November 1, 2016 (Dkt. No. 154). Mr. Heald filed his petition on December 1, 2016 (Dkt. No. 160). With that petition, he submitted a number of exhibits for the Court's consideration.

         In his initial brief in support of his petition, Mr. Heald asserted that he would file supplemental briefing in January 2017 (Dkt. No. 161, at 16). On September 11, 2017, the Court entered an Order allowing Mr. Heald until September 25, 2017, to file his supplemental briefing in support of his Hyde Amendment petition (Dkt. No. 201). In that Order, this Court granted leave for Mr. Heald “to file a single supplemental brief before the Court rules on his Hyde Amendment motion.” (Dkt. No. 201, at 2). At that time, the Court also denied Mr. Heald's request for discovery from the government (Dkt. No. 201, at 3-4).

         On September 19, 2017, Mr. Heald sought an additional, unlimited extension of time to file his supplemental briefing (Dkt. No. 202). On February 22, 2018, the Court ordered Mr. Heald to complete his filing in support of his Hyde Amendment petition by March 26, 2018 (Dkt. No. 209). In that Order, the Court denied Mr. Heald's request for an unlimited extension of time and instead imposed a deadline on Mr. Heald to file his supplemental briefing. The Court also informed Mr. Heald that no additional extensions would be granted, absent a showing of good cause (Id.).

         On March 26, 2018, rather than comply with this Court's Order by filing his completed Hyde Amendment petition or seeking relief before the deadline, on the day of the deadline, Mr. Heald filed yet another request for an extension (Dkt. No. 210, ¶ 20). Specifically, Mr. Heald stated in pertinent part in that motion:

I can now state that I will obtain the funds by the end of March and the work to complete my Hyde claim can begin. It will be a very difficult and intensive process to trace all of the evidence to show how the government obscured the evidence, confused the jury, and presented evidence the government knew was false and misleading. My lawyer and I will make every effort to complete that work and file my submission in sixty days from the current deadline of March 26 or by May 25, 2018.

(Dkt. No. 210, ¶ 20).

         To the extent Mr. Heald suggests in his latest filing that he needs additional time to present additional evidence to the Court of “what the government knew and when it knew it, and what the government did with what it knew, ” Mr. Heald has had approximately 17 months to prepare and file his supplemental briefing, but he has failed to do so (Dkt. No. 210, at 3). He mounted a defense against the government's charges when his liberty was at stake. He filed a Hyde Amendment petition with supporting exhibits, acknowledging the 30-day controlling deadline for such a filing.

         He has had access to all of the trial transcript since approximately January 5, 2017 (Dkt. No. 189).

         Aside from filing substituted redacted exhibits in support of his Hyde Amendment petition on October 26, 2017 (Dkt. No. 208), Mr. Heald has submitted nothing further addressing the merits in support of his petition. Only in his most recent submission does he even suggest what he might include in a supplemental filing, and what he cites there is insufficient to meet his high burden for the reasons explained in this Order.

         II. ...


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