The legal landscape of southwest Missouri has been shaped in part by Cynthia Hyde. As an assistant U.S. attorney, she has represented the government in more than 3,000 cases, resulting in the prosecution of major drug-trafficking organizations and the forfeiture of more than $25 million in proceeds of criminal activity. In recent years, she has also created a specialty that resembles a thriving civil defense representing the government in civil cases such as defending Army physicians at Fort Leonard Wood.
What are your proudest career accomplishments?
I have represented the United States in over 3,000 cases, both civil and criminal, since I began my career as an AUSA in 1991. I am proud that I have maintained passion and patriotism in every case. In 2015, I became the only civil litigator in my office, forcing me to learn torts defense in cases such as medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuits against the United States. The variety has kept me motivated and interested, which is a minor miracle after 26 years in the same job.
What inspired you to get involved in the public service or justice system?
The two years that I spent clerking for U.S. District Judge Scott O. Wright opened my eyes to public service. As a law clerk, I had the opportunity to observe cases of every variety, and I was most drawn to public service.
What is the best advice you have given or received?
Early on in my career as a prosecutor, I realized that I had taken a case to the grand jury and obtained an indictment based upon a false premise. My boss, Deputy U.S. Attorney Mike Jones, encouraged me to dismiss the indictment immediately and never have second thoughts about doing the right thing. I have tried to follow this advice in every case I have worked.
What is something that would surprise people about you?
I love to sing and dance to ’70’s music, especially disco.
When you were growing up, what did you want to be?
As a very young girl, I wanted to be a car hop on roller skates. Later, I wanted to be Madeleine Albright. I regret that I didn’t use my French proficiency to my advantage and work for the State Department after I returned from college in Switzerland.