High court throws out Southern Union's $18M fine
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has thrown out an $18 million penalty against a natural gas company convicted of violating an environmental law.
The court on Thursday voted 6-3 in favor of Texas-based Southern Union Co. in an appeal of a penalty imposed for its improper storage of mercury in a building in Pawtucket, R.I.
The case turned on whether a series of cases limiting judges' discretion in increasing prison sentences also applies to criminal fines. Justice Sonia Sotomayor said in her opinion for the court that the same limits apply.
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