High Court Makes Steep Criminal Fines Harder To Come By

Law360, New York (June 21, 2012, 7:39 PM EDT) -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday made it more difficult for prosecutors to win big penalties against corporations and criminal defendants by establishing that its "Apprendi rule" and the Sixth Amendment require juries, not judges, to determine facts that enhance maximum criminal fines, experts say.

In a 6-3 decision, the high court overturned a First Circuit ruling that upheld an $18 million fine against natural gas company Southern Union Co., which was convicted of a felony charge of illegally storing mercury in 2009.

According to the...
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