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RING V. ARIZONA (01-488) 536 U.S. 584 (2002)
200 Ariz. 267, 25 P.3d 1139, reversed and remanded.
Syllabus
 
Opinion
[ Ginsburg ]
Concurrence
[ Scalia ]
Concurrence
[ Kennedy ]
Concurrence
[ Breyer ]
Dissent
[ O’Connor ]
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536 U.S. ____ (2002)

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES


No. 01—488

TIMOTHY STUART RING, PETITIONER v. ARIZONA

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE SUPREME COURT
OF ARIZONA

[June 24, 2002]

    Justice Kennedy, concurring.

    Though it is still my view that Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), was wrongly decided, Apprendi is now the law, and its holding must be implemented in a principled way. As the Court suggests, no principled reading of Apprendi would allow Walton v. Arizona, 497 U.S. 639 (1990), to stand. It is beyond question that during the penalty phase of a first-degree murder prosecution in Arizona, the finding of an aggravating circumstance exposes “the defendant to a greater punishment than that authorized by the jury’s guilty verdict.” Apprendi, supra, at 494. When a finding has this effect, Apprendi makes clear, it cannot be reserved for the judge.

    This is not to say Apprendi should be extended without caution, for the States’ settled expectations deserve our respect. A sound understanding of the Sixth Amendment will allow States to respond to the needs and realities of criminal justice administration, and Apprendi can be read as leaving in place many reforms designed to reduce unfairness in sentencing. I agree with the Court, however, that Apprendi and Walton cannot stand together as the law.

    With these observations I join the opinion of the Court.