Supreme Court To Decide If Sarbanes-Oxley Applies To Fish
One of the cases that the Supreme Court accepted for review today presents a rather unique legal question:
The Supreme Court said Monday that it will decide next term whether a Florida fisherman who got rid of three undersized grouper was improperly prosecuted under the Sarbanes-Oxley law, which Congress passed in response to a series of financial scandals at Enron and other major corporations.
The court without comment said it would review the conviction of commercial fisherman John L. Yates. He disposed of three fish that an inspector said were not the minimum 20 inches required of red grouper taken from the Gulf of Mexico.
Several legal groups, including the association of criminal defense lawyers, urged the court to take the case. One group, Cause of Action, said the case was about government overreach.
“This law is supposed to protect citizens from the destruction of corporate documents designed to conceal financial crimes,” the group said in a press release. “Yet the government applied the law to Mr. Yates for throwing overboard grouper that were an inch or less too short.”
While I haven’t reviewed the case in detail, I’d have to agree that this sounds like overreach to me as well. The case is Yates v. United States.