Comments on: “How Destroying Fish Is Not Like Destroying Financial Records” http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records Chronicling the high cost of our legal system Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:18:34 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 By: Ron Miller http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297737 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 14:13:04 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297737 You make some decent points. Factually, I’m not sure we have enough information. If there is a trial. I would like to see all of the evidence. I can’t see a 72 to 69 small fish being the issue. But the logistical question is whether they could get the evidence on the spot, presumably on a boat or something. I’m picturing a scenario but I have no idea if it turns out that way.

“And as for speeding, sorry, I believe in the same rule of law for all. If it is okay for the cops to speed without cause, then it must be okay for me to speed.”

I completely get off the bus here. Because police speed, and they probably make up .2% of the cars on the road, we should all be able to speed? To me, this is crazy.

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By: GRSA http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297732 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 13:09:48 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297732 Were any investors hurt by this action?
Is Mr. Yates’s boat a publicly traded entity?
If so, then so be it.

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By: gitarcarver http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297685 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 04:52:16 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297685 Ron,

Bear with me here…..

Did they know it was three at the time?

I am not sure what you are asking. At the time stop, the Florida Fish and Wildlife guy told Yates to keep 72 undersized groupers in a separate fish box. When Yates and the fish arrived in port a week later, there were only 69.

Taking a picture would have been better evidence of the size?

In my opinion it would have been. You lay a 2 foot ruler next to the fish and take a picture of it. Not to be morbid, but don’t we do the same thing with wounds on the body of a dead person? We don’t drag the body into the courtroom. (At least I don’t think we do.) We take photographic evidence. I am not trying to be snide here, but do you think that at trial the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife is going to bring dead fish into the courtroom?

We can’t trust fisherman to act with some honor so the burden is on law enforcement?

While I understand your point, I think the counterpoint might be “we can’t trust law enforcement to collect and maintain evidence without the assistance of the person they are looking to fine / suspend / put in jail?” Or even “we can’t count on the honor of all people to admit a crime when they are asked by a law enforcement officer?”

You guys seems to be clearly siding with the cheater over the people was entrust to stop the cheaters.

I don’t read anyone siding with the “cheater” on the infraction of catching undersized fish. I think where people are siding with the fisherman is the idea that the government went looking for a law that was not written to deal with fish and applied it to this guy.

I think you are free to hate that injustice while still supporting the idea of obstruction of justice.

Thanks. I think you may be missing my point. In this case, the “justice” to me would be obtained by convicting the guy on the charges of catching undersized fish. (A civil charge, in case you missed that.) So what “justice” is being obstructed if the guy was convicted on the undersized fish charge? How much more “justice” does the government want? In this case, they are looking at throwing this guy in jail for up to three years for a criminal infraction that could result in a max fine and suspension of his fishing license for 30 days. I don’t see that three year sentence in the slammer as enhancing justice or being just at all.

But my point is that too often it seems that “obstruction of justice” is a “throw away charge,” just like “resisting arrest” or “resisting arrest without violence.” Too often no one really believes the person was obstructing or resisting, but it gives prosecutors another chip to throw into the pot when negotiating a plea deal.

(And as for speeding, sorry, I believe in the same rule of law for all. If it is okay for the cops to speed without cause, then it must be okay for me to speed. To paraphrase something I read earlier, “we can’t trust law enforcement to act with honor and stay within the law?”)

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By: Boblipton http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297643 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 17:57:04 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297643 Ron, I’ve never known a fisherman but he was a liar. Surely the cops should have realized that keeping the fish around would have meant that they would have been unable to exaggerate their size.

Nor have I been arguing that their attempting to eliminate the evidence is not worthy of punishment. I suggested some time ago — and you have steadfastly ignored my suggestion — that there might be another, more relevant federal law about destroying evidence rather than claiming that these fish somehow are financial records. If the idea is not to let the punishment fit the crime, then claim it was treason and violation of the Alien & Sedition Acts of 1798 and that they poisoned themselves while attempting to escape, the United States then being in a state of emergency and the courts not open on the high seas. Case closed.

On the other hand, if you think that three fish is a lot to get hot under the collar and that it’s a bit odd that the arresting officers didn’t think to snap a photo on their cel phones or something and that the punishment does not fit the crime… well, apparently you don’t. Remind me not to cross the street against the light while you’re around.

Bob

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By: Ron Miller http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297614 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:18:30 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297614 Did they know it was three at the time? Taking a picture would have been better evidence of the size? We can’t trust fisherman to act with some honor so the burden is on law enforcement? You guys seems to be clearly siding with the cheater over the people was entrust to stop the cheaters.

Peter, yes, you will need to do just that. It clearly appeared to me that you were analogizing the two. I figured it was a legitimate comparison because your post was so short I didn’t think you checked in just to make a joke that was not really funny. My bad.

Git, I can’t speak to the delay. I’m not a big fan of it and I don’t know why it would have gone down that way.

“I hate things like “obstruction of justice” because it has been my experience that the charges are leveled against the average citizen far more often then they are leveled against LEO’s who do similar acts. ”

I think you are free to hate that injustice while still supporting the idea of obstruction of justice. I mean, I hate police driving 85 miles an hour down the road for no reason other than they can. But I still support catching speeders who are going 75.

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By: Boblipton http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297596 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 10:23:06 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297596 Ron:

logistical difficulties? Three undersized fish? No one is carrying a cell phone to snap a picture?

Bob

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By: peter http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297592 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:55:58 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297592 “…destruction of evidence should never be a crime….” No what I was doing was pointing out the idiocy of the situation. Also there is a nod to the logistical difficulty, that is why the inspectors do not have to keep every fish to present as evidence at the trial.

‘fair comparison’. I course I don’t think it is a fair comparison. I was using it as a vehicle to point out the ridiculousness of the situation.

Wow. I really didn’t think I needed to point that out. I will try to explain in the future when I am using sarcasm, exaggeration or humour…just for Ron. (P.S. sarcasm) (P.P.S sarcasm).

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By: gitarcarver http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297570 Tue, 22 Jul 2014 03:52:55 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297570 Ron,

Just to be clear, I hate things like “obstruction of justice” because it has been my experience that the charges are leveled against the average citizen far more often then they are leveled against LEO’s who do similar acts.

My point on the length of time is that the guy was caught with the illegal fish, told to keep them in a fish box until he returned to port. Yates’ boat came back into port a week later and it was then the fish were noted as being missing.

The government knew there was something fishy going on with at least 3 fish missing. Why not make the charge then? Why wait 3 years to bring the charges?

There are a lot of people who are more informed on whether the fish are “tangible evidence” and 9 of them wear black robes and hand out feathers to lawyers. I won’t offer an opinion on that.

However, I am still stuck on the three year period between the incident and the charge and firmly believe that justice delayed (even for the people whom the government represents) is justice denied.

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By: Ron Miller http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297542 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:50:39 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297542 Hit send a little early. Sorry

That is crazy as is the idea that knife/mugger is a fair comparision.

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By: Ron Miller http://overlawyered.com/2014/07/destroying-fish-like-destroying-financial-records/comment-page-1/#comment-297541 Mon, 21 Jul 2014 18:49:38 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47132#comment-297541 Schooled. Fish. I see what you did there.

Anyway, I don’t disagree that the appropriate punishment here might best be a guilty finding for the underlying offense. But obstruction of justice in some capacity is not a crazy charge in these situations.

Peter, what you are saying then in destruction of evidence should never be a crime when authorities are in a position to seize the evidence. That’s crazy as is the idea that the There should be some nod to the logistical difficulties they probably faced when stopping to get a count and measurement on the spot.

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