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Supreme Court to hear case of man prosecuted for tossing 3 fish overboard

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Supreme Court to hear case of man prosecuted for tossing 3 fish overboard

Not even Supreme Court justices can resist a good fish story.
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The court said Monday it will hear the case of a Florida fisherman charged with destroying evidence — three small grouper — under a federal law originally aimed at the accounting industry.

Commercial fishing boat captain John Yates argues that the federal government used its mighty power to convict him of tossing overboard three fish that were under the 20-inch minimum legal size for red grouper caught in the Gulf of Mexico.

Yates was prosecuted under part of the law Congress passed in 2002 in response to the Enron scandal and abuses in the accounting industry. He said the law’s anti-shredding provision is intended to prevent the destruction of financial records. The Obama administration said the law plainly prohibits the destruction of “tangible objects,” including fish.

The tale begins in 2007 on board the Miss Katie, a commercial fishing boat out of Cortez, Fla., on the Gulf of Mexico.

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