Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 9 (2002)

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Opinion of the Court

plains why the jury found [Ring] guilty of felony, but not premeditated, murder." Ibid.

Under Arizona law, Ring could not be sentenced to death, the statutory maximum penalty for first-degree murder, unless further findings were made. The State's first-degree murder statute prescribes that the offense "is punishable by death or life imprisonment as provided by 13-703." Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. 13-1105(C) (West 2001). The cross-referenced section, 13-703, directs the judge who presided at trial to "conduct a separate sentencing hearing to determine the existence or nonexistence of [certain enumerated] circumstances . . . for the purpose of determining the sentence to be imposed." 13-703(C) (West Supp. 2001). The statute further instructs: "The hearing shall be conducted before the court alone. The court alone shall make all factual determinations required by this section or the constitution of the United States or this state." Ibid.

At the conclusion of the sentencing hearing, the judge is to determine the presence or absence of the enumerated "aggravating circumstances" 1 and any "mitigating circum-1 The aggravating circumstances, enumerated in Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. 13-703(G) (West Supp. 2001), are:

"1. The defendant has been convicted of another offense in the United States for which under Arizona law a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable.

"2. The defendant was previously convicted of a serious offense, whether preparatory or completed.

"3. In the commission of the offense the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person or persons in addition to the person murdered during the commission of the offense.

"4. The defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, or promise of payment, of anything of pecuniary value.

"5. The defendant committed the offense as consideration for the receipt, or in expectation of the receipt, of anything of pecuniary value.

"6. The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.

"7. The defendant committed the offense while in the custody of or on authorized or unauthorized release from the state department of corrections, a law enforcement agency or a county or city jail.

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