Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 17 (2002)

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600

RING v. ARIZONA

Opinion of the Court

Walton was revisited in Jones v. United States, 526 U. S. 227 (1999). In that case, we construed the federal carjacking statute, 18 U. S. C. 2119 (1994 ed. and Supp. V), which, at the time of the criminal conduct at issue, provided that a person possessing a firearm who "takes a motor vehicle . . . from the person or presence of another by force and violence or by intimidation . . . shall—(1) be . . . imprisoned not more than 15 years . . . , (2) if serious bodily injury . . . results, be . . . imprisoned not more than 25 years . . . , and (3) if death results, be . . . imprisoned for any number of years up to life . . . ." The question presented in Jones was whether the statute "defined three distinct offenses or a single crime with a choice of three maximum penalties, two of them dependent on sentencing factors exempt from the requirements of charge and jury verdict." 526 U. S., at 229.

The carjacking statute, we recognized, was "susceptible of [both] constructions"; we adopted the one that avoided "grave and doubtful constitutional questions." Id., at 239 (quoting United States ex rel. Attorney General v. Delaware & Hudson Co., 213 U. S. 366, 408 (1909)). Section 2119, we held, established three separate offenses. Therefore, the facts—causation of serious bodily injury or death—necessary to trigger the escalating maximum penalties fell within the jury's province to decide. See Jones, 526 U. S., at 251-252. Responding to the dissenting opinion, the Jones Court restated succinctly the principle animating its view that the carjacking statute, if read to define a single crime, might violate the Constitution: "[U]nder the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the notice and jury trial guarantees of the Sixth Amendment, any fact (other than prior conviction) that increases the maximum penalty for a crime must be charged in an indictment, submitted to a jury, and proven beyond a reasonable doubt." Id., at 243, n. 6.

Jones endeavored to distinguish certain capital sentencing decisions, including Walton. Advancing a "careful reading of Walton's rationale," the Jones Court said: Walton "charac-

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