Brent McIntosh Authors Column on Supreme Court’s Yates v. United States Ruling

March 4, 2015

On March 4, published the column “‘An Emblem of a Deeper Pathology in the Criminal Code’: Thoughts on the Supreme Court’s Ruling that, Sometimes, Fish Aren’t Tangible Objects,’” authored by Mr. McIntosh. The column examines the Supreme Court’s reasoning behind its decision in Yates v. United States, where it ruled that the defendant’s effort to avoid a civil regulatory violation by tossing undersized fish overboard was not a violation of Sarbanes-Oxley, which forbids the destruction of “any record, document, or tangible object” to interfere with a federal investigation. Mr. McIntosh explains how and why the Court arrived at the conclusion that a fish does not constitute a “tangible object” here, speculating that the ruling was the Court’s way of pushing back against the current legislative trend of “the proliferation of expansively phrased, high-maximum-sentence criminal prohibitions.”