[ Scalia ]
[ Breyer ]
The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has been prepared by the Reporter of Decisions for the convenience of the reader.
See United States v. Detroit Timber & Lumber Co., 200 U.S. 321, 337.
SCHRIRO, DIRECTOR, ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS v. SUMMERLIN
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
Respondent was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death under Arizonas capital sentencing scheme then in effect, which authorized the trial judge, rather than the jury, to determine the presence of aggravating circumstances that make the defendant eligible for the death sentence. The State Supreme Court affirmed on direct review. While respondents subsequent federal habeas case was pending in the Ninth Circuit, this Court decided that Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 490, required the existence of an aggravating factor to be proved to a jury rather than a judge under Arizonas scheme. Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 603609. The Ninth Circuit invalidated respondents death sentence, rejecting the argument that Ring did not apply because respondents conviction and sentence had become final on direct review before Ring was decided.
Held: Ring does not apply retroactively to cases already final on direct review. Pp. 310.
(a) A new
rule resulting from a decision of this Court applies to
convictions that are already final only in limited
circumstances. New substantive rules generally apply
retroactively, but new procedural rules generally do
(b) Rings holding is properly classified as procedural. It did not alter the range of conduct or the class of persons subject to the death penalty in Arizona, but only the method of determining whether the defendant engaged in that conduct. Pp. 46.
(c) Ring did not announce a watershed rule of criminal procedure. This Court cannot confidently say that judicial factfinding seriously diminishes accuracy. Pp. 710.
341 F.3d 1082, reversed and remanded.
Scalia, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Rehnquist, C. J., and OConnor, Kennedy, and Thomas, JJ., joined. Breyer, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg, JJ., joined.