Yates v. United States

Brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as Amicus Curiae in Support of Petition for a Writ of Certiorari

Brief filed: 02/05/2014


Yates v. United States

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 13-7451

Prior Decision

Decision below 733 F.3d 1059 (11th Cir. 2013).


Petitioner's conviction under 18 U.S.C. §§ 1519 and 2232 through his conduct aboard the Miss Katie exemplifies overcriminalization stemming from an unconstitutional executive expansion of the law. As a matter of law, the Petitioner could not have been adjudicated guilty under 18 U.S.C. § 1519 (2012) as the application of an anti-shredding statute to three rotten fish is an unconstitutional expansion of the law and a violation of statutory construction. Executive expansion of 18 U.S.C. § 1519 to include red grouper furthers the overcriminalization epidemic. Additionally, the lower courts committed reversible error when they effectively shifted the burden of proof from the government to the Petitioner on the issue of whether the fish were undersized. No reasonable jury could have convicted the Petitioner under § 2232 because the government failed to meet its burden of proof.

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William N. Shepherd, Holland & Knight LLP, West Palm Beach, FL; Barbara E. Bergman, Albuquerque, NM.