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Schriro v. Summerlin

542 U.S. 348, 124 S. Ct. 2519, 159 L. Ed. 2d 442 (2004)

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Schriro v. Summerlin

United States Supreme Court

542 U.S. 348, 124 S. Ct. 2519, 159 L. Ed. 2d 442 (2004)

Facts

Summerlin (defendant) was found guilty of first-degree murder. After a hearing, a judge found two aggravating factors were present and imposed a sentence of death. The Arizona Supreme Court affirmed the sentence. Summerlin filed for state and federal habeas corpus review. While these actions were pending, two cases were decided that affected Arizona’s death-penalty-sentencing scheme. The scheme permitted the death penalty only if an aggravating factor was present. After Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000), and Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584 (2002), were decided, the existence of an aggravating factor must be proved to a jury, not to a judge. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that Summerlin’s death sentence was invalid based on Ring. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Scalia, J.)

Dissent (Breyer, J.)

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