FIORE v. WHITE

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
98-942
Petitioner 
William Fiore
Respondent 
White, Warden, et al.
Term:
Facts of the Case 

William Fiore, an operater of a hazardous waste facility, was convicted of operating without a permit. Fiore had a valid permit, but had deviated from its terms by making alterations to the facility. Later the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that the statute in question applied only to operators who actually lacked permits. Fiore appealed, seeking to have his convicted overturned. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit rejected the appeal on the ground that it would require a retroactive application of a new rule of law. (See Fiore v. White (1999)) The U.S. Supreme Court asked the Pennsylvania Supreme Court whether its decision had been a new rule, and the state court replied that the decision "did not announce a new rule of law," but "merely clarified the plain language of the statute."

Question 

Does the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment permit a state to convict a facility operater of operating without a permit, when the operater actually had a permit but deviated from its terms?

Conclusion 

No. In a unanimous per curiam opinion, the Court held that Fiore's conviction was unconstitutional. Since the Pennsylvania Supreme Court's decision was not a new rule, it governed Fiore's case even though the case was final before the decision was handed down. The Court found that since Fiore had a permit, his offense was not covered by the statute he was convicted under. The Court concluded that "Fiore's conviction fails to satisfy the Federal Constitution's demands."

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FIORE v. WHITE. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 20 June 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_98_942>.
FIORE v. WHITE, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_98_942 (last visited June 20, 2014).
"FIORE v. WHITE," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed June 20, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/2000-2009/2000/2000_98_942.