The United States Supreme Court recently tossed $18 million in criminal fines issued under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) against Southern Union Company because the imposition of the fines violated Southern Union’s Sixth Amendment right to have a jury determine any fact (other than the fact of a prior conviction) that increases a penalty for a criminal sentence, and have it proved beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

In Southern Union Company v. United States, 2012 WL 2344465 (decided June 21, 2012), natural gas distributor Southern Union appealed the trial court’s setting of a maximum criminal fine at $38.1 million, from which the court imposed an actual criminal fine of $6 million and a $12 million “community service obligation.”

To learn more. please read my recent blog post on Commonground.