The US Supreme court heard oral arguments today in Yates v. United States. At issue in the case is whether a fisherman who throws undersized grouper back into the sea to avoid civil penalties has committed a crime under a Sarbanes-Oxley provision that prohibits knowingly concealing, altering, or destroy “any record, document, or tangible object” with the intent to impede a federal investigation.
Oral arguments were punctuated by laughter, fish puns, and some incredulous exclamations. Justice Scalia asked “what kind of mad prosecutor” would use the Sarbanes-Oxley anti-shredding provision in a case like this one? When the Assistant U.S. Solicitor General characterized the fisherman as having ordered the destruction of evidence, disobeyed a federal officer, and orchestrated a cover-up scheme, Chief Justice Roberts exclaimed, “You make him sound like a mob boss.”
For a quick overview of the case: http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/11/making-a-federal-case-out-of-fishy-facts-in-plain-english/#more-220885
For a synopsis of oral arguments: http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/11/argument-analysis-building-to-a-scalia-crescendo/
For the transcript of oral arguments: http://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcripts/13-7451_4gd5.pdf