High Court Overturns Southern Union's $18M Criminal Fine

Law360, New York (June 21, 2012, 11:20 AM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday threw out an $18 million criminal penalty imposed on natural gas company Southern Union Co., holding that its "Apprendi rule" applies to criminal fines and means a jury must determine the facts that increase maximum fines in criminal cases.

In a 6-3 decision, the high court overturned a First Circuit ruling to uphold the penalty against Southern Union, which was convicted on a felony charge of illegally storing mercury. The First Circuit had wrongly ruled that the Supreme Court’s decision...
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