Harris v. United States, 536 U.S. 545, 20 (2002)

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Opinion of Kennedy, J.

judge to impose "a specific sentence within the range authorized by the jury's finding that the defendant [was] guilty." 530 U. S., at 494, n. 19; see also Jones, supra, at 242 ("[T]he Winship issue [in McMillan] rose from a provision that a judge's finding (by a preponderance) of visible possession of a firearm would require a mandatory minimum sentence for certain felonies, but a minimum that fell within the sentencing ranges otherwise prescribed").

As its holding and the history on which it was based would suggest, the Apprendi Court's understanding of the Constitution is consistent with the holding in McMillan. Facts extending the sentence beyond the statutory maximum had traditionally been charged in the indictment and submitted to the jury, Apprendi said, because the function of the indictment and jury had been to authorize the State to impose punishment:

"The evidence . . . that punishment was, by law, tied to the offense . . . and the evidence that American judges have exercised sentencing discretion within a legally prescribed range . . . point to a single, consistent conclusion: The judge's role in sentencing is constrained at its outer limits by the facts alleged in the indictment and found by the jury. Put simply, facts that expose a defendant to a punishment greater than that otherwise legally prescribed were by definition 'elements' of a separate legal offense." 530 U. S., at 483, n. 10.

The grand and petit juries thus form a " 'strong and two-fold barrier . . . between the liberties of the people and the prerogative of the [government].' " Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U. S., at 151 (quoting W. Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England 349 (T. Cooley ed. 1899)). Absent authorization from the trial jury—in the form of a finding, by proof beyond a reasonable doubt, of the facts warranting the extended sentence under the New Jersey statute—the State had no power to sentence the defendant to more than

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