Opinion of the Court
only sentencing options, see Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13- 1105(C) (West 2001); Ring was therefore sentenced within the range of punishment authorized by the jury verdict. See Brief for Respondent 9-19. This argument overlooks Apprendi's instruction that "the relevant inquiry is one not of form, but of effect." 530 U. S., at 494. In effect, "the required finding [of an aggravated circumstance] expose[d] [Ring] to a greater punishment than that authorized by the jury's guilty verdict." Ibid.; see 200 Ariz., at 279, 25 P. 3d, at 1151. The Arizona first-degree murder statute "authorizes a maximum penalty of death only in a formal sense," Apprendi, 530 U. S., at 541 (O'Connor, J., dissenting), for it explicitly cross-references the statutory provision requiring the finding of an aggravating circumstance before imposition of the death penalty. See § 13-1105(C) ("First degree murder is a class 1 felony and is punishable by death or life imprisonment as provided by § 13-703." (emphasis added)). If Arizona prevailed on its opening argument, Apprendi would be reduced to a "meaningless and formalistic" rule of statutory drafting. See 530 U. S., at 541 (O'Connor, J., dissenting).
Arizona also supports the distinction relied upon in Walton between elements of an offense and sentencing factors. See supra, at 598-599; Tr. of Oral Arg. 28-29. As to elevation of the maximum punishment, however, Apprendi renders the argument untenable; 5 Apprendi repeatedly in-5 In Harris v. United States, ante, p. 545, a majority of the Court concludes that the distinction between elements and sentencing factors continues to be meaningful as to facts increasing the minimum sentence. See ante, at 567 (plurality opinion) ("The factual finding in Apprendi extended the power of the judge, allowing him or her to impose a punishment exceeding what was authorized by the jury. [A] finding [that triggers a mandatory minimum sentence] restrain[s] the judge's power, limiting his or her choices within the authorized range. It is quite consistent to maintain that the former type of fact must be submitted to the jury while the latter need not be."); ante, at 569 (Breyer, J., concurring in part andPage: Index Previous 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 Next
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