Fish Are Not an Information Storage Device

Fish Are Not an Information Storage Device→

In an eagerly anticipated ruling taylor made for late-night talk show monologues, the august Supreme Court of the United States weighed in and decided that… fish are not an information storage device, overturning the conviction of one John Yates:

John Yates can breathe easy again. Today the US Supreme Court overturned his conviction (pdf) for destroying documents to hide evidence of a crime. The alleged crime: carrying undersized fish. The documents in question: the fish themselves.

Yates was convicted of breaking a law known (pdf) as the “Sarbanes-Oxley anti-shredding statute.” This makes it a crime to knowingly tamper with evidence that could be used in a federal investigation, and was originally meant to prevent people at companies facing potential probes from shredding documents, deleting emails, and the like. The law targets anyone who “knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object.”

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