Yates v. US

So, in 2007 a fishing boat captain named Yates is pulled over by the fish police and busted for having a bunch of undersized red groupers. Behind the cops back he tossed the illegal fish overboard to get rid of the evidence. He was charged with destroying evidence under the Sarbanes-Oxley act, which was passed in the wake of the Enron and Arthur Anderson scandals, to prevent coverups of financial misdeeds. Seems like a stretch. Turns out the act has a really long prison term associated with it.

This ends up being argued earlier this month at the US Supreme court and the audio is great to listen to. The real fun starts about 30 minutes in, when the prosecutor comes to the podium.

The colloquy generated a now famous exchange, Chief Justice Roberts interrupts in this 30 second clip:


This came after about 5 minutes of the Justices left right and center, led by an outraged Justice Scalia, giving the guy a hard time for the excellent reason that overcharging petty offenses is objectionable. This 5 minutes of tape is really worth hearing if you want something about the Court to feel good about.


Details about the case and complete audio can be had at the terrific Scotusblog website on this page.

By the way, Justice Scalia refers to the Bond case, details and audio here, in which a woman was charged with violating a chemical weapons treaty for going crazy and trying in very loopy ways to poison her husband’s mistress. Very entertaining.