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Yates v. United States

Docket No.: 13-7451
Argued: November 5, 2014
Decided: 2/25/15


ADA, Civil Procedure, Civil Rights Act, Civil Rights Act of 1964, EPA, Federalism, Securities Act of 1933, Title VII, murder, retaliation

PartyNames: John L. Yates v. United States
Petitioner: John L. Yates
Respondent: United States

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
Citation: 733 F.3d 1059
Supreme Court Docket

John L. Yates
United States

QUESTION 1: In the wake of the criminal charges filed against Enron's corporate officers, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Known as the "anti-shredding provision" of the Act, 18 U.S.C. 1519 makes it a crime for anyone who "knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object' with the intent to impede or obstruct an investigation. 18 U.S.C. 1519 (emphasis supplied). John L. Yates, a commercial fisherman, was charged and convicted under this anti-shredding criminal statute for destroying purportedly undersized, harvested fish from the Gulf of Mexico after a federally-deputized officer had issued him a civil citation and instructed him to bring them back to port. This petition presents the important question of whether the reach of section 1519 extends to the construction of anything meeting the dictionary definition of "tangible objects," or instead is limited to the destruction of tangible objec

Consideration Limited:


Yates v. United States

November 5, 2014

Listen to Oral Argument in Yates v. United States
Vote: 5-4
Majority: Judgment Reversed, Case Remanded. Ginsburg, Chief Justice Roberts, Breyer, Sotomayor
Concurring: Alito
Dissenting: Kagan,Scalia,Kennedy,Thomas
Opinion By:

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Yates v. United States
Case Documents

1YATES v. UNITED STATES Oral Argument Transcript (PDF)
2Slip Opinion in YATES v. UNITED STATES (Opinion by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg)
3YATES v. UNITED STATES Oral Argument Audio