Monday, November 3, 2014

Yates v. U.S. to be argued Wednesday morning November 5

Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on November 5, 2014 to determine whether § 1519 which was enacted as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, was only meant to apply to documents and objects used for recording, documentary, or informative purposes.

Petitioner was fined while at sea for catching prohibited undersized fish in the Gulf of Mexico. Petitioner was ordered to bring the undersized fish back to port with him, but he disposed of those fish while at sea. Upon his return to port, he was charged and convicted of violating of 18 USC § 1519 for destroying or concealing any tangible object, and USC § 2232(a) for knowingly disposing of undersize fish. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed Petitioner's conviction, and held that the trial court correctly interpreted § 1519, which made it a criminal offense to knowingly alter, destroy, or conceal any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede an investigation or administrative matter. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to answer the question of whether the Eleventh Circuit interpreted § 1519 correctly.

It must be criminal law day as Yates is followed by the Johnson case which addresses whether possession of a shotgun is a violent felony under the Armed Career Criminal Act.