Grandison v. State

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Anthony Grandison v. State of Maryland, No. 16, September Term, 2005. CRIMINAL LAW CONSTITUTIONAL LAW DEATH PENALTY: Grandison appealed from the denial of his motions for a new trial, to correct and illegal sentence, and to reopen his original post-conviction proceeding and raised three issues: whether his due process rights w ere violated under Brady v. Maryland, whether his sentence under Maryland s death penalty statute violated his right to due process of law under Apprendi v. New Jersey and Ring v. Arizona, and whether he was death eligible when convicted as an accessory before the fact to the murders. The Court of Appeals determined that Grandiso n failed to p rove that the evidence at issue in his claim under Brady was material because the evidence did not present a reasonable probability that, had it been disclosed, the result of th e proceed ing wou ld have be en differe nt. The C ourt of A ppeals also reaffirmed its prior conclusion that Maryland s death penalty statute does not violate the Supreme Court s rulings in Apprendi v. New Jersey and Ring v. Arizona. Also, based on a plain meaning interpretation of the death pe nalty s tatute, the Court of Appeals held that Grandison was eligible for the death penalty as an accessory before the fact to m urder where contractual murder co nstitutes the ag gravating c ircumstanc e forming the basis fo r the impos ition of t he dea th pena lty. IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 16 September Term, 2005 ANTHONY GRANDISON v. STATE OF MARYLAND Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. Opinion by Battaglia, J. Bell, C.J., Raker and Greene, JJ., Dissent Filed: December 16, 2005 The appellant, A nthony Gra ndison, w as convicte d of hiring Vernon Evans , Jr. to murder David Scott Piechowicz and Cheryl Piechowicz on April 28, 1983 at th e Warren House Motel located in Baltimore County, Maryland; however, because Ms. Piechowicz was ill, her sister, Susan Kennedy, who was filling in for her, was murdered in her stead. Grandison was convicted of first degr ee murde r of both victims and was sentenced to death. This Court has, in four previous opinions, rejected Grandison s various challenges to his trial, convictions, and sentences.1 In the present case, Grandison appeals from the denial of his motions for a new trial, to correct an illegal sentence, and to reopen his original post-conviction proceeding. Specific ally, he raises three issues. Grandison argues that the State violated his due process rights under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S .Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), regarding the suppression of evidence that he alleges is favorable and material to the determination of his guilt and sentencing during both his 19 84 guilt/inno cence trial an d his 1994 re-sente ncing p roceed ing. Grandison also asserts that his sentence under Maryland s death penalty statute violated his right to due process of law under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 , 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000), and Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 122 S.Ct. 2428, 153 L.Ed.2d 556 (2002), because the jury was permitted to find that the 1 See Grandison v. State, 351 Md. 732 , 720 A.2d 322 (1998); Grand ison v. State, 341 Md. 175, 67 0 A.2d 398 (1 995), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 1027, 117 S.Ct. 581, 136 L.Ed.2d 512 (1996) (second d irect appeal); Grand ison v. State, 305 Md. 685, 506 A .2d 580 (1986 ), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 873, 107 S.Ct. 38, 93 L.Ed.2d 174 (1986) (first direct appea l); Evans v. State, 301 Md. 45, 481 A.2d 1135 (1984) (decided jointly with Grandison v. State, No. 7, Sept. Term 1984) , cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1034, 105 S.Ct. 1411, 84 L.Ed.2d 795 (1985) (concerning potential do uble jeopardy). aggravating factors outweighed the mitigating factors by a preponderance of the evidence. Fina lly, he contends that because he was convicted as an accessory before the fact to the murders, he was not death eligible. We reject the entirety of Grandison s current arguments. Facts The basic facts of this case have been summarized by this Court in Grandison v. State, 305 Md. 6 85, 697 -98, 50 6 A.2d 580, 58 5-86 (1 986), cert. denied, 479 U.S . 873, 107 S .Ct. 38, 93 L.Ed.2d 174 (1986), as follows: According to the State s evidence, the defendant Evans and Anthony Grandison entered into an agreement whereby Evans would kill David Scott Piechowicz and his wife, Cheryl, because the couple were scheduled to testify against Grandison in a narcotics case pending in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Evans was to receive $9,000.00 from Grand ison fo r perfo rming th e murd ers. David Scott Piechowicz and Cheryl Piechowicz were employed at the Warren Hous e Mo tel in Ba ltimore C ounty. On April 28, 1983, Susan Kennedy, the sister of Cheryl Piechowicz, was working in place of Cheryl at the Warren House Motel. The evidence was sufficient to prove beyond a reasonab le doubt tha t, on April 28th, Evans went to the motel and, not knowing the Piechowiczs, shot David Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy with a M AC-11 machine pistol. Nineteen bullets were fired at the victim s, who died fro m the m ultiple g unsho t woun ds. A two count indictment was filed against Evans and Grandison in the United States District Court. They were charged w ith violating the P iechowic zs civil rights by interfering with their right to be witnesses in a judicial proceedin g, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 241, and with witness tampering, in violation of 18 U.S.C . § 1512 . Subsequ ently the present case began with a four count indictment in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, charging Evans and Grandison each with two counts of first degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murder, and the use 2 of a handgun in the commission of a felony or crime of violence. Upon the defen dants requ ests for rem oval, Gran dison s trial was transfer red to the Circ uit C ourt for S ome rset C ounty and Evans s trial was transferred to the Circuit Court for Worcester Cou nty. Additional background detail was provided in Grandison v. State, 341 Md. 175, 19395, 670 A.2d 3 98, 406 (1995): While Grandison was awaiting trial on the state charges, he was convicted in the federal court on both narcotics charges and witness tampering charges brought against him in connection with the murders. Thereafter, Grandison moved to dismiss the state charges o n the grou nd that the federal convictions for witness tampering and civil rights violations and the sentences thereon constituted a double jeo pardy bar to the pending state court trial. The trial court denied his motion, and on appeal of that interlocutory ord er we aff irmed that ju dgment p ursuant to the dual sovereign ty exception to th e Doub le Jeopardy Clause. Evans [and Grandison] v. State, 301 Md. 45, 481 A.2d 1135 (1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1034, 105 S.Ct. 1411, 84 L.Ed.2d 795 (Grandison I). (Footnote omitted). In May of 1984, Grandison was tried in the Circuit Court for Somerset County on two charges of first degree murder, one count of conspiracy to commit murd er, and one count of the use of a handgun in the commission of a felony or crime of violenc e. During th at trial, the prosecution offered significant incriminating evidence against Grandison through a number of witnesses. The most damaging testimony was elicited from Charlene Sparrow, Vernon Evans s girlfriend at the time o f the murders. Sparr ow testified that on April 26, 1983, she accom panied E vans and Janet M oore, Gra ndison s g irlfriend at the time of the 3 murders, to the Baltim ore City Jail to visit Grandison. Sparrow waited in the car while Evans and Moore met with G randison a nd stated tha t when Evans and Moore returned nearly an hour later, the trio went to visit Theresa Purdie, the mother of Grandison s son, to obtain some mone y from R odney K elly, an associate of Grandison s. Sparrow testified that at Purdie s apartment, Evans, Moore, Kelly, and Purdie all spoke with Grandison on the phone. Later that afternoon, according to Sparrow, she and Evans traveled with Mo ore to the Warren House Motel, where Sparrow attempted to reserve a room . Sparrow stated that she could not obt ain a res ervation for the n ight of A pril 26th becau se the m otel wa s full. She did, however, reserve a room for the night of April 27th, which was corroborated by a registration slip from the Warren House bearing the same date with Sparrow s name and a room number on it. She reporte d to Evan s that the Piechowiczs were not at the reception desk and describ ed the s ecurity fe atures. Sparrow further testified that on April 27, 1983, after receiving a gun in a brown and white canvas bag and a car from Kelly, Evans and Spa rrow dro ve over to the Warren House and Evans instructed Sparrow to wait in the car. Evans then entered the hotel with the brown and white canvas bag containing the gun. Some time later, Evans ran from the Warren House and told Sparrow to wipe off the gun, which she testified was smoking. Evans inform ed Spa rrow th at he w as to rec eive $9 ,000 fo r the mu rders. Other witnesses supplied additional testimony implicating Grandison in the murders of Scott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy. For example, Theresa Purdie confirmed that 4 Sparrow, Kelly, Evans, and Moore visited her apartment and that K elly, Evans, and Moore all spoke to Grandison on the telephone. Calvin Harper, a friend of Rodney Kelly s, testified concerning the events that he witnessed when in K elly s company on April 26th through the 28th, 1983. Harper further testified that he was present when Evans acquired the machine pistol used in the murders from Kelly and that Kelly told him that Evans had the gun to take care of some business. Etta Horne, who worked in the hotel in housekeeping, identified Evans as the man whom she saw sitting in the lobby of the hotel immediately preceding the murders. Also, H elen K ondilid is, a waitress at the motel s basement restaurant, testified that she entered the motel shortly before the murders and also identified Evans as the man she saw th ere. On May 22, 1984, the jury in Grandison s guilt/innoc ence trial return ed guilty verdicts on all counts. Grandison was sentenced to death on June 6, 1984 on both murder counts. In Grandison v. State, 341 Md. 175, 670 A.2d 398 (1995), we summarized the subsequent proceedings: On Novem ber 1, 1990 , Grandiso n filed a pe tition, pursuan t to Md. Code (1957, 1987 Repl. Vol., 1990 Cum. Supp.), Art. 27, § 645A , in the Circuit C ourt for So merset Co unty seeking post conviction relief. On July 31, 1992, the circuit court granted such relief, ordering a new capital sentencing proceeding on Grandison s convictions of first degree murder. Relying upon the Supreme Court s decision in Mills v. Maryland, 486 U.S. 367, 108 S.Ct. 1860, 100 L.Ed.2d 384 (1988), the circuit court granted the requested relief on the grounds that the sentencing form and related jury instructions employed at Grandison s first sentencing proceeding offended the dictates of the Eighth and Fourteen th Amendments to the United States Constitution that 5 the death penalty not be imposed where there are mitigating factors which may call for a less severe penalty. The circuit court also decided that Grandison was entitled to retroactive application of the Mills decision. T he State applied to this Court for leave to app eal from th e circuit court s grant of post conviction relief as to the death sentences, and Grandison filed a cross-application seeking rev iew of the circuit court s denial of collateral relief on the underlying convictions. We denied both applica tions. Grand ison v. State, Misc. No. 29, Sep t. Term 1992 (order filed October 23, 1992). The Supreme Court denied a petition and cross-petition for writ of certiorari on March 22, 1993. Maryland v. Grandison, 507 U.S. 985, 113 S.Ct. 1581, 123 L.Ed.2d 149 (1 993); Grandison v. Maryland, 507 U.S. 985, 113 S .Ct. 158 1, 123 L .Ed.2d 149 (1 993). In 1993, Grandison filed a number of motion s in the circuit court to bar his re-sentencing on double jeopardy grounds. The circuit court denied these motions and Grandison s subsequent request for a stay of the re-sentencing proceeding pending an appeal of the circu it court s ruling o n his motions. Grandison then applied to the Court of Special Appea ls for a stay of the resentencing. On May 11, 1994, the matter was transf erred to this Court. We i ssue d an orde r den ying the re quested stay. Grandison v. State, Misc. No. 20, Sept. Term, 1994 (order filed May 12 , 1994) . Id. at 194-95, 670 A .2d at 407 (footnote om itted). Grandison s re-sentencing proceeding began on May 24, 1994 and lasted eight days. The prosecution presented th e same evidence that it had introduced at Gra ndison s guilt/innocence trial i nclu ding testim ony from Che ryl Piechowicz, Charlene Sparrow, James Savage, and Calvin Harper, which was essentially identical to their testimony in the 1984 trial. The State also introduced testimony from Janet Moore for the first time during the resentencing proceeding. Moore s testimony corroborated the statements made by Sparrow regarding the e vents of the tw o days immediately prior to the murders. She also stated that 6 she heard Grandison tell Kelly to take Evans to the Warren House and show him who the white couple was. At the conclusion of Grandison s capital re-sentencing proceeding, on June 3, 1994, a Somerset County jury imposed two death sentences. This Court affirmed the death sentences in Grand ison v. State, 341 Md. 175 , 670 A.2d 398 (1995). On November 15, 1999, Grandison initiated the present litigation when he filed a motion for a new trial, pursuant to Maryland Rule 3-441. On January 18, 2000, he filed a Motion to Correct Ille gal Sentence, and approximately three months later, filed a pro se Motio n to Re open O riginal G uilt/Inno cence Post C onvictio n. The Circuit Co urt held two days of evidentiary hearings on May 20-21, 2004. During the hearings, Grandison introduced a number of pieces of allegedly exculpatory or impeaching evidence that he asserted had been s uppressed by the prosecu tion and tha t, according to Grandison, significantly undermined the confidence in the verdicts rendered against him at both his 1983 trial and 1994 re-sentencing proceeding such that the evidence was material for the purpose of establishing a violation of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L .Ed.2d 215 (196 3).2 Grandison principally relied upon testimony and statements from Roberta Weinstein, 2 The Supreme Court s de cision in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), essentially provides that in order to establish a Brady violation the defendant must prove that (1) the evidence was suppressed by the prosecution either intentionally or unintentionally, (2) the evidence was favorable to his defense either because it is exculpato ry, provides the b asis for mitigation of sentence, or impeaches the testimony of a w itness, an d (3) it is m aterial. 7 the proprietor of the Casa del Oro jew elry shop locate d in the lobby of the Warren House and witness to the shootings, Derese Pinkney, a woman who lived near the Warren House and claimed to have seen the shooter run past her house, and Janet Bannister, an employee at the Warren House who was present at the motel on the day of the murders, to impeach the testimony of Helen Kondilidis and Etta Horne, the two Warren House employees who identifie d Vern on Ev ans as th e gunm an. Weinstein testified that, from her vantage point in the Casa del Oro jewelry store, she saw the back and side of the gunman through the window and that he was approximately thirty feet awa y. She stated that she could not see the gunman s face, but testified that he was African-American, despite her sworn testimony during federal proceedings that she could not discern his race. She also estimated his height as 5'7" or 5'8", whereas Evans is 5'2". Weinstein testified that she could not identify Evans during a line-up conducted shortly after the shooting and stated that upon viewing Evans in the courtroom, she observed that the shooter was a lot taller. Derese Pinkney testified that shortly after the shooting, a man ran past her house from the direction of Warren House as she was standing on her front porch waiting for her children to arrive hom e from sc hool. She s tated that he w as African -Americ an and estimated the person s height to be between 5'8" and 5'9". She also asserted that Evans was not that man because he w as much shor ter. P inkn ey, however, admitted that she did not get a good look at the man and stated that she would not be able to testify that that individual was any 8 particul ar perso n and th at she w as not p aying mu ch atten tion to h im. Grandison emphasized Janet Bannister s statements and testimony as evidence impeaching Kondilidis s and Horne s identifications of Evans. Bannister testified at the motions hear ing that shortly before the mu rders, as she w as leaving W arren Ho use with Mildred Tally shortly after her shift ended at 3:00 p.m., she saw an African-American male in the lobby, who at one time stood nex t to her, and whom she would estimate as being between 5'5" and 5'8" in heigh t. Further in her testimony, however, she stated that she was not paying muc h attention to him because she was clipping a coupon and only remembered that he was taller than her 5'1" frame. Moreover, she could not state with certainty whether Helen Kondilidis was present in the lobby after she left it and did not even know Etta Horn e s nam e, or wh ether H orne w as prese nt in the l obby. Grandison introduced the surveillance v ideotape from the C asa del Oro jewe lry store as corroborating evidence for the statements and testimony of Bannister and Weinstein and as evidence impeaching Kondilidis s and Horne s identifications of Evans as the gunman. He asserted that the videotape showed that Weinstein could demonstrate the gunman s position with respect to the reception desk and supported her claims that Evans was not the triggerman. Also, according to Grandison, it verified the timing attested to by Bann ister, which undermined Helen Kondilidis s testimony that she was in the lobby immediately prior to the sh ooting , as well as her id entifica tion of E vans as the sho oter. 9 Grandison further relied on the 302 statements 3 from Hessie Hightower and Alan Summ erfield to impeach Kondilidis. Both Hightower and Summerfield stated that they were present in the Warren House lobb y at approximately 2:45 p.m. on April 28, 1983, about thirty-five minutes before the shooting. Hightower said that she only saw Scott Piechowicz in the lobby, whereas Summerfield did not notice anyone there. Grandison also presented the 302 report of the interview with Mary Lefkowitz who stated that she left the Warren House at approximately 2:50 p.m. [and there] was no one in the lobby of the Warren House, which was relied u pon by Gra ndison to im peach K ondilidis regard ing Ko ndilidis s presen ce in the lobby. The 302 statement of Mary Williams, also alleged by Grandison to be Brady evidence, simply stated that she spoke with Bannister in the rear pa rking lot arou nd 3:15 p .m. and did not state anything in relatio n to any in dividu als in the lobby. The 302 statement of Ruth Blatt, also relied upon by Grandison to undermine Kondilidis s and Horne s testimony concerning their presence in the lobby, indicated that Blatt arrived at the Needlepoint Shop in Warren House, which is adjacent to the lobby and front desk, at approximately 2:15 p.m. on April 28, 1983, and that after purchasing some items from the shop, departed between 3:00 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. shortly before the shooting. Blatt stated that sh e did not rec all seeing anyone in the lobby, nor did she observe anything 3 The statements are referred to as 302 statements because [t]he interview report was on an FBI form displaying the number 302. Evans v. S tate, 382 Md. 248, 258, 855 A.2d 291, 297 (2004 ). 10 that seemed unusual. The 302 statements of Florence Tayman and Harriet Glazer, shop employees, c orroborate d Blatt s statem ent. The 302 reports of the interviews conducted with Evelyn Pushkin and Marie Valle, both of who m work ed at the V illage Beauty Salon located in the basement of the Warren House, stated that the two women left the salon together and separated in the lobby at approxim ately 3:15 p.m . on April 28, 1983, approximately five minutes before the shooting, with Pushkin d eparting thro ugh the front entrance and V alle leaving through the rear. Pushkin stated that she saw Susan Kennedy and Scott Piechowicz at the front desk, but that there was no one else present in the lobby. Valle s 302 statement reflected that she did not observe anyone in the lobby. Grand ison argued that the 302 statements weakened the persuasive power of Kondilidis s and Horne s testimony asserting that they observed Evans in the Warren House lobby immediately prior to the killings. Grandison also relied upon the 302 statement of Irene Farace th at she arrived at Warren Hou se around 2:4 5 p.m . on A pril 2 8, 19 83 and did no t obs erve anyone in the lo bby, as evidence impeaching Kondilidis and Horne. Farace s statement was confirmed by the 302 report of the interview conducted with M ildred Go ldberg, the p roprietor of th e dress sho p in the W arren H ouse lo bby. The 302 statement by Mary Gertrude Ange l indicated that she arrived at Warren House at abou t 2:50 p .m. and entered throug h the rea r entran ce. She stated that she did not see Scott Piechowicz or Susan Kennedy behind the desk. 11 Grandison also asserted that D arryl Primeaux s grand jury testim ony directly impeached Calvin Harper s a ccount of his activities w ith Rodne y Kelly from A pril 26th to April 28th, 1983, which was key in the prosecution s contention that Grandison directed Rodney Kelly to assist Evans in the murders. Primeaux, throughout his grand jury te stimony, disclaimed any participation in any of the activities alleg ed by Harp er. He also s tated, in response to a question about whether Kelly informed him that Kelly had a machine gun, that he was not that close with Ke lly and that Ke lly would no t have told h im that information. Grandison also presented the handwritten statement from Harper to impeach his testimony that he saw Ke lly on the same day he was release d from the Training Center. At the conclusion of the hearings, the Circuit Court requested written memoranda consolidating and summarizing the arguments presented in connection with Grandison s three motions, which Grandison and the State provided. On February 25, 2005, Judge Daniel M. Long denied all of Grandison s motions in a written opinion, in which he noted that the surveillance tape, the unr edacted 3 02 stateme nts, and the P rimeaux g rand jury transc ript, although arguably relev ant, would require an abstract, if not imaginative, line of reasoning to deduce any beneficial value at trial. This was the case, the court noted, because of the overwhelming evidence that Evans was the gunman. The court observed that the inconsistencies in the witnesses testimony were the result of the common phenomena of signific ant varia tions am ong eyew itness sta temen ts. Moreover, Judge Long stated that Grandison also failed to establish that the 12 prosecuti on suppressed any of the evidence at issue. Judge Long held that there was no evidence that the prosecution had any information in its possession that Grandison lacked knowledge of and w ould have benefitted f rom kno wing an d conclud ed that the evidence presented was not m aterial to Gra ndison s g uilt or sentence. In his opinion, Judge Long stated that even if th e identifications of Evans m ade by Kondilidis and H orne were discredited entirely, the result would be incon sequential because there remained significant and persuasive evidence that Grandison directed the murders. Therefore, Judge Long concluded that Grandison did not satisfy the three components of a Brady violation. The Circuit Court also was not persuaded that the Maryland death pen alty statute is unconstitutional based on this Court s prior holdings addressing the application of Apprendi v. New Jersey and Ring v. Arizona. Furthermore, the court held that Grandison was death eligible as an accessory before the fact under the language of the applicable aggravating circumstance listed in the statute governing the imposition o f the death penalty at sentencing. On March 29, 2005, this appeal followed, presenting us with the following issues: 1. Did the State violate Mr. Grandiso n s Due P rocess rights under Brady v. Maryland and its progeny, by suppressing evidence favorable to him and material to his guilt or sentencing before an d during h is 1984 gu ilt/innocence trial? 2. Did the State vio late Mr. G randison s Due Pro cess rights under Brady v. Maryland and its progeny, by suppressing material evidence, favorable to him, before and during his 1994 re-sentencin g trial? 3. Did Mr. G randison s sentence u nder M aryland s death penalty statute violate due process of law under Apprendi v. New 13 Jersey and Ring v. Arizona, where the jury was allow ed to find that aggravating factors outweighed mitigating factors only by a preponderance of the evidence? 4. Did Mr. Grandison s conviction as an accessor y before the fact to murder, and a court finding that he was n ot a first degree principal together with no finding that he was a second degree principa l, pre clud e imp osition of the deat h penalty? Because we determine that the evidence presented by Grandison as Brady evidence fails to satisfy Brady s materiality require ment that the evidence present a rea sonable probability that, had it been disclosed, the result of the proceeding would have been different, we hold that the State did not violate Grandison s due process rights with re spect to both his 1983 guilt/innocence trial and his 1994 re-sentencing under the terms of Brady. Moreover, we reaffirm our prior conclusion that Marylan d s death penalty statute does not violate the Supreme Court s rulings in Apprendi v. New Jersey and Ring v. Arizona. Furthermore, based on a plain meaning interpretation of the death penalty statute, we hold that G randison is eligible for the death penalty as an accessory before the fact to murder where contractual murder constitutes the aggravating circumstance forming the basis for the imposition of the deat h penalty. Discussion Grandison argues that the facts of the present case satisfy the elements required in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 (1963), namely, that the State withheld the evidence from him either intentionally or unintentionally, that the suppressed evidence was fav orable to Grandison, meaning that it was exculpatory, presented 14 grounds for mitigation of sentence, or impeached witness testimony, and that the evidence was material w hen view ed in light of his 1983 tria l and 1994 re-sentencin g such tha t it created a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed, the result would have been different. According to Grandison, the State suppressed the evidence at issue because it was in the State s possession, it was not disclosed during any of Grandison s prior proceedings, and he could not have discovered it through his own investigation based on previously revealed evidence. M oreover, because the e vidence, under G randison s interpretation, serves to impeach Kondilidis, Horne, and Harper, who testified for the State at the 1983 trial and the 1994 re-sentencing, the evidence is favorable to Grandison under Brady. With respect to the materiality prong of Brady, Grandison argues that the C ircuit Court failed to adequately address the evidence in its conclusion that the suppressed evidence was not sufficient to present a reasonable probability of altering the verdict. Grandison asserts that the Circuit Court conducted a piecemeal analysis rather than examining the evidence for its cumulative effect, which he contends is the app licable standard under Kyles v. Whitely, 514 U.S. 419, 439-40, 115 S.Ct. 1555, 15 68-69, 131 L.E d.2d 490, 509-10 (1995). Grandison also argues that the Maryland death penalty scheme is unconstitutional under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000), and Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S . 584, 122 S .Ct. 2428, 1 53 L.Ed .2d 556 (2 002), beca use the statute permits the weighing of aggravating and mitigating factors to be determined under the 15 preponderance of the evidence standard as opposed to the reasonable doubt standard. Although he recognizes that this Court has repeatedly rejected his argument on numerous occasions, Grandiso n urges this Court to revisit the issue an d rule in his favor. Grandison s final argument is premised on the asse rtion that he is n ot eligible for the death penalty because he was found guilty as an accessory before the fact rather than a principal. He bases this argum ent on the fact that the a perso n who mu rders a police officer is only eligible for the death penalty if he is at least a first or second degree principal and argues that i t foll ows that a n acc esso ry bef ore the fa ct to a contract murder w ould not q ualif y. He also relies upon language from Grand ison v. State, 341 Md. 175 , 670 A.2d 398 (1995), in which this Court stated that the death penalty statute s imposition of the death penalty on individuals convicted as second degree prin cipals does not violate the Eighth A mendm ent, and Gary v. S tate, 341 Md. 513, 671 A.2d 495 (1996), in which this Court stated that the death p enalty cou ld not b e impo sed on a perso n conv icted of consp iracy to m urder. The State argues that this Court should be guided by its opinion in Evans v. S tate, 382 Md. 248, 855 A.2d 291 (2004), in denying Grandison s claims. According to the State, because Evans p resented ne arly identical evid ence and it was sub ject to a determin ation with respect to materiality, this Court should consider the Evans rational e persu asive. The State also contends that the prosecution did not violate Brady, because it did not suppress material evidence that was favorable to Grandiso n. Specifica lly, the State asserts that Grandiso n, through counsel, w as provide d with the 3 02 stateme nts that Grandison relied 16 upon in the motions hearing d uring his federal prosecu tion. Moreover, the State argues that the prosecution s discovery process consists of an open file policy in which the prosecutor made copies of documents in his possession, with the exception of work product, and provided them to defense counsel. The only documents not copied, acc ording to the State, were photographs, work product, and copies of hearing or trial transcripts. Moreover, the State argues that Grandison and his counsel were provided a copy of the surveillance video at issue in the case sub judice. The State furthe r contends that the evidence also was n ot favorab le nor mate rial to Grandison. Although some of the evidence might be considere d margin ally relevant, in the State s view, it is not favorable u nder the Brady standard. The State asserts that Grandison s proffered evidence fails to mee t the materiality stand ard becau se, although it may impeach the testimony of Helen Kon dilidis and Etta Horne, it did not plac e the entire case in a differe nt light so as to un dermin e conf idence in the ve rdict. The State also urges this Court to conclude that the weighing proc ess in Maryland s death penalty statute is constitutional, consistent with prior decisions rende red by this Court and asks that this Court affirm its previous holding s. The State asserts that Grand ison s reliance on Ring v. Arizona is misplaced as the Supreme Court has stated that its dec ision in Ring was n ot intend ed to ha ve retro active a pplicatio n. Fina lly, the State contends that the de ath penalty was properly imposed in Grandison s case. The State asserts that the aggravating factor, contractual murder, which was alleged 17 in this case, is an excep tion to the req uirement in Maryland s death pen alty statute that on ly a first degree p rincipal to first d egree mu rder is death eligible. Therefore, according to the State, Grandison w as subject to the death pen alty and his death sentences w ere proper. The Brady Analy sis Grandison s primary contention is that he was prejudiced by the cumulative effect of the State s alleged repeated violations o f its constitutional obligations under Brady. Therefore, we shall b egin our an alysis of the elem ents that Grand ison is require d to establish to prevail on his Brady claim. As we recently stated in Conyer s v. State, 367 Md. 571, 59798, 790 A.2d 1 5, 30-31 (2002): The Supreme Court made clear in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 10 L.Ed .2d 215 (1963), that the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or to punishment, irrespective of the good faith of the prosecution. [Brady, 373 U.S.] at 87, 83 S.Ct. 1194, 119697, 10 L.Ed.2d 21 5. In order to establish a Brady violation, Petitioner must establish (1) that the prosecutor suppressed or withheld evidence that is (2) favorable to the defense either because it is exculpatory, provides a basis for m itigation of sentence, or because it provides grounds for impeaching a witness and (3) that the suppressed evide nce is m aterial. Evidence that is obviously favorable must be disclosed even absent a sp ecific reque st by the defen dant. Impeachment evidence, as well as exculpatory evidence, is evidence favorable to an ac cused. [C] f Napue v . People of Ill., 360 U.S. 264, 269, 79 S.Ct. 1173, 1177, 3 L.Ed.2d 1217 (1959) (holding that the prohibition against the use of false testimony applies even whe n the evid ence goes onl y to the cre dibility of the witness because the jury s assessment of credibility can be determinative of guilt or innoc ence). 18 *** The standard for measuring materiality of the undisclosed evidence is strictest if it demonstrates that the prosecution s case includes perjured testimony and that the prosecution knew, or should have known, of the perjury. In [United States v.] Agurs, [427 U.S. 97, 103, 96 S.Ct. 2392, 2397, 49 L.Ed.2d 342 (1976)] the Supreme Court explained that a conviction obtained by the knowing use of perjured testim ony is funda mentally unfair, and must be set aside if there is any reasonable likelihood that the false testimo ny could have affected the judgment of the jury. In cases where there is no false testimony but the prosecution nonetheless fails to disclose favorable evidence, the standard for materia lity, in the langua ge of the S upreme C ourt, is whether there is a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the de fense, the result of the proceeding would h ave been different. A reasonab le prob abili ty is a probability sufficient to undermine the confidence in the outcome. [S]ee . . . Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d (1984). [4] Materiality is assessed by considering all of the suppressed evidence colle ctive ly. The question, therefore, is not whether the State would have had a case to go to the jury if it had disclosed the favorable evidence, but whether we can be confident that the jury s verdict wo uld have been the same, which is determined in referenc e to the sum of the evidence and its significance for the prosecution. (Footnote omitted and alterations in original). We observe that Brady jurisprudence predominantly addresses the materiality prong. See, e.g., Kyles v. Whitley, 514 U .S. 419 , 434-4 54, 115 S.Ct. 15 55, 156 5-75, 1 31 L.E d.2d 4 This Court has interpreted the reasonable probability standard from Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984) to mean a substantial possibility that . . . the result of [the] trial would have been any different. Conyers, 367 Md. at 598-99, 790 A.2d at 31, citing State v. Thomas, 325 Md. 160, 190, 599 A.2d 1171, 1185 (1992); Bower s v. State, 320 Md. 416 , 426-27, 578 A .2d 734, 739 (199 0). 19 490, 505-18 (1 995); United States v. Bagley, 473 U.S. 667, 678-84, 105 S.Ct. 3375, 2281-85, 87 L.Ed.2d 4 81, 491-9 5 (1985); United States v. Agurs, 427 U .S. 97, 1 03, 96 S .Ct. 2392, 2397, 49 L.Ed.2d 342, __ (1976 ); Brady, 373 U.S. at 87-91, 83 S.Ct. at 1196-98, 10 L.Ed.2d at 218-21. Various courts have recognized that the materia lity prong is the gravamen of analysis under Brady. See, e.g., United States v. Kubiak, 704 F.2d 154 5, 1550 (11th Cir.), cert. denied, 464 U.S . 852, 104 S .Ct. 163, 78 L.Ed.2d 149 (1983) (in determining whether nondisclosure of exculpatory information constituted a denial of due process, the focu s is not upon the fact of n ondisclosure, but upon the impact o f the nondisclosu re on the ju ry's verdict ); Floyd v. Sta te, 902 S o.2d 775, 778 (Fla. 2005 ) (stating that th e focus in postconviction Brady Bagley analysis is ultimately the nature and weight of undisclosed information ); State v. Loviere, 833 So.2d 885, 897 (La. 2002) ( [W]e observe that in the main, the Brady jurispruden ce focuse s on the m ateriality inquiry ); Atkinson v. Sta te, 778 A.2d 1058, 1063 (Del. 2001) ( In this case, as in most cases where the issue of a Brady violation is raised, the focus is on the third com ponent materiality ); State v. Ma rshall, 690 A.2d 1, 33 (N.J. 1997) ( The focus of the Brady analysis often is w hether evid ence is sufficiently material to the defenda nt's case to come within the State's Brady obligation ). Therefore, because our determination of Grandison s Brady claim will ultimately turn on whether the evidence is material, we shall assume only for the sake of argument that the evidence in issue was withheld and that it was favorab le to Grand ison with re spect to his guilt or sentencing and focus our attention on the issue of whether the suppressed evidence 20 was ma terial. 5 We base our conclusion on the factors that this Court previously has found to be useful in determining materiality for Brady purpo ses. Conyers, 367 Md. at 612, 790 A.2d at 40. These factors applicable to the facts of this case include the specificity of the defendant s request for disclosure materials, the closeness of the case against the defendant and the cumulative weight of the other independent evidence of guilt, the centrality of the particular witness to the State s case, and whether and to w hat extent the witness s credibility is already in question. Wilson v. State , 363 Md. 333, 352, 768 A.2d 675, 685 (2001). Grandison s proffered evidence can be divided into three cate gories. The first category consists of descriptions of the African-American male observed in the Warren House lobb y or the vicinity of th e motel sho rtly before the m urders, wh ich allegedly contradict Etta H orne s a nd He len Ko ndilidis s identif ications of Ev ans, includin g the testimony from Janet Ban nister, Roberta Weinste in, and Derese Pinkney, and the 302 stateme nts by Jan et Ban nister. The second c ategory, whic h is comprised of the majority of the evidence, was offered to show that between 2:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. on April 28, 1983, the witnesses did not see, 5 We limit our examination because, based on our conclusion that the evidence at issue is not material, Grandison is unable to satisfy the three prongs under Brady, and as such, could not prevail e ven if we were to fin d that the ev idence w as withhe ld and w as favorab le to Grandison s defense. 21 and the surveillance tape did not record, Etta Horne or Helen Kondilidis in the lobby at the time they had testified to being present there, and that the witnesses did not observe anyone in the lob by excep t Scott P iechow icz and Susan Kenn edy. The third category c onsi sts of Da rryl Pr imea ux s gran d jury testim ony and Calvin Harper s handwritten signed statement to the police on May 12, 1983, which Grandison asserts impeaches Ca lvin Harper s testimony concerning the interaction between Rodney Kelly, whom Harper claims provided Evans with the murder weapon, and Evans o n April 18, 1983. Grandison argues that th is testimonial and stateme nt evidenc e, when v iewed in conjunction with the surveillance videotape that corroborates the statements and testimony of the witnesses impeaching Kondilidis and Horne, creates su fficient dou bt so as to undermine our confidence in the verdict against him. Our view of the evidence, howe ver, differs and we determine that the evidence, when examined as a whole, does not undermine our confidence in the verdicts against Grandison. The testimony and statements upon which Grandison relies concerning the appearance of the man in the lobby as well as the statements indicating that Kondilidis and H orne were not in the lobby between 2:45 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. are examples of the well-documented phenomena that different witnesses descriptions of a perso n or estimate s of time w ill often vary to a considerable extent. Evans v. S tate, 382 Md. 248, 265, 855 A.2d 291, 301 (2004 ); see, e.g., United States v. Wade, 388 U.S. 218, 228, 87 S.Ct. 1926, 1933, 18 L.Ed.2d 1149, 22 1158 (1967) ( The vagaries of eyewitness identification are well-known ), and the authorities cited therein. W hen exam ined with that precept in mind, it is clear that the testimony and statem ents do no t create a sign ificant possib ility that the outcome of the trial would have been any different, and Grandison would have been convicted of hiring Evans to kill two federal witnesses. Even assuming arguendo, as the Circuit Court did, that the evidence impeached Horne s and Ko ndilidis s acco unts of the e vents leadin g up to the murders, which is the purpose of the majority of G randison s proffered evidence , it does not serv e to mean ingfully deplete the cumulative weight of the remaining independent evidence against Evans and, by extension, Grandison during Grandison s 1983 guilt/innocence trial and his 1994 resenten cing. During the 1983 trial, the State s key witness was Charlene Sparro w, Evans s girlfriend and accomplice. Sparrow s testimony that she accompanied Evans and Janet Moore to the Baltimore City Jail, and to Theresa Purdie s apartment to meet with Kelly, as well as her statements that Evans told her that he was going to kill someone re main unimpeached by Grandison s proffered evidence. Moreover, Sparrow testified that Evans was at the Warren House at the time of the shootings, independent of Horne s and Kondilidis s identifications. She further recoun ted that Eva ns told her th at he shot S cott Piechowicz and Susan Kennedy. Sparrow s testimony also was corroborated by a number of independent witnesses. Those portions of Sparrow s testimony implicating Rodney Kelly in the planning of 23 the murders a re supporte d by Calvin Harper s testimony as well. Harper described the bag in which Kelly carried the gun used in the murders as a brown sports bag, a description that is consistent with Sparrow s statement that the bag was a brown and white canvas bag. Moreover, Primeaux s grand jury testimony does little to discredit Harper. Although Primeaux denied participation in the events that Harper alleged to have occurred, he stated that his knowledge is not complete because K elly w ould not have shared information concerning the gun and murder plot with him. The prosecution s case in the 19 83 trial was further supp orted by the testimony of Special Agent Daniel Ryan and handwriting expert Luther Senter. Special Agent Ryan testified concerning the authenticity of a letter addressed to Janet Moore, dated March 14, 1983, a nd wr itten by G randiso n, The judge sure make his decision by at least Wednes day, I m banking on him throwing it out, but in the mean time I am preparing for trial. Like I said no one can put me in there, the white bitch testimony ain t shit, because she s talking about Nov. 9, 82, at 11 p.m. at night, the hotel was rented on Nov. 10, 82 and the black dude stated that I was not the one who rented the hotel. *** I might have you take a friend of mine, name short [Ev ans s nickname], over there to see one of the kids, probably Rodney [Kelly] or Mike [Queen], because I want him to take care of something to be on the safe side. Senter confirmed that the letter was in Grandison s handwriting. The evidence presented by the prosecution at Grandison s 1983 trial, including that 24 of Evans s guilt and Grandison s role as mastermind is overwhelming and supports our confidence in the result of Grandiso n s 1983 tria l. Therefore, we are not convinced that there is a reasonab le probability that th e jury in the 198 3 trial would have reac hed a diff erent result in light of evidence Grandison now provides. We reach an identical conclusion with respect to the case presented during Grandison s 1994 re-sentencing proceedings. The prosecution s case was even more powerful due to the a ddition of J anet Mo ore s testimon y. Moore testified to the fact that Grandison called her o n April 26 , 1983 and told her to pick u p Evans and bring him to the Baltimore City Jail to visit him. She further corroborated Sparrow s account, from both 1983 and 1994, that Moore and Eva ns went in to the jail wh ile Sparrow waited in the car, and later that the three went to Theresa Purdie s apartment to see Rodney Kelly. She also stated, consistent with Sparrow s 1983 and 1994 testimony, that at Purdie s apartment, Evans, Kelly, Purdie, and Moore spoke to Grandison on the phone. Moore testified that Grandison asked her to take Evans to Warren House, once more corroborating Sparrow s testimony that she and Evans went to Warren House in the company of Moo re. Moreover, Moore stated that while on a three-way call, she heard Grandison tell Kelly to take Evans in the car up to the motel a nd sho w Ev ans w ho the white c ouple was. The remainder of the prosecution s 1994 re-sentencing case was nearly identical to that presented in Grandiso n s 1983 tria l. Thus, we conclude that the prosecution s evidence against Grandison at his 19 94 re-sentencing proc eeding was ev en more persuasive than that 25 introdu ced at h is 1983 guilt/inn ocenc e trial. Therefore, we hold that the evidence at issue in the case at bar fails to satisfy the materiality component of the Brady analysis because it does not create a reasonable probability that, had the evidence been disclosed to the defense (assuming it had not), Grandison would not have been convicted and sentenced to death. Because Grandison has failed to satisfy the materiality prong of the Brady analysis, we hold that his Brady claim is withou t merit. Ring/Apprendi Claim Grandison argues that Maryland s death penalty statute, which permits a jury to find that aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors by a prepon derance o f the evide nce, is facially unconstitutional under Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466, 120 S.Ct. 2348, 147 L.Ed.2d 435 (2000), and Ring v. Arizona, 536 U.S. 584, 122 S.Ct. 2428, 153 L.Ed.2d 556 (2002), because Apprendi and Ring require such a determination to be found beyond a reasonab le doubt. 6 Maryland Code (1957, 1982 Repl. Vol.), Article 27, Section 413 (h) provides: (h) weighing mitigating and aggravating circumstances. (1) If the court or jury finds that one or more of these mitigating circumstances exist, it sh all de term ine w heth er, by a preponderance of the evidence, the mitigating circumstances 6 Despite the Supreme Court s holding in Schriro v. S umme rlin, 542 U.S . 348, 124 S .Ct. 2519, 159 L.Ed.2d 442 (2004), that Ring is not to be applied retroactively, we need not address that issue, because even if Ring were applicable, Grandison would not be entitled to relief. 26 outweigh the aggravating circumstances. (2) If it finds that the mitigating circumstances do not outweigh the aggravating circumstances, the sentence shall be death. (3) if it finds that the mitigating circumstances outweigh the aggravating circumstances, the sentence shall be imprisonment for life. The issue of whether Maryland Code (1957, 1982 Repl. Vol.), Article 27, Section 413 (h) violates due process by perm itting the jury to find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the aggravating factors found by the jury outweigh the mitigating circumstances it finds to exist has been addressed and resolved by this Court on numerous occasions, beginning with Tichnell v. Sta te, 287 Md. 695, 729-34, 415 A.2d 830, 848-50 (1980), and ending most recently in Oken v. S tate, 378 M d. 179, 8 35 A.2 d 1105 (2003 ), cert. denied, 541 U.S. 1017, 124 S.Ct. 2084, 158 L.Ed.2d 6 32 (2004 ). We hav e consisten tly determined that the weighing proces s based on a pre ponde rance o f the ev idence does n ot violat e due p rocess. The actual holding of Appren di is that [o]ther than the fact of a prior conviction, any fact that increases the penalty for a crime beyond the prescribed statutory maximum must be submitted to a jury, and proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Apprendi, 530 U.S. at 490, 120 S.Ct. at 2362-63, 147 L.Ed.2d at 455. In Ring, the Supreme Court stated that [b]ecause Arizona s enumerated agg ravating factors operate as the functional equivalent of an element of a greater offense, the Sixth Amendment requires that they be found by a jury. Ring, 536 U.S. at 609, 122 S.Ct. at 2443, 153 L.Ed.2d at 576-77 (internal citations omitted). As we stated in Oken, it is clear from th e Suprem e Court s o pinion that Ring only applies to the eligibility phase of the sentencing process. Oken, 378 Md. at 251, 835 A.2d at 1147. 27 Thus, those aggravating factors, which se rve to narrow th e class of d eath-eligible d efendan ts in compliance with the Eighth Amendment, must be found by a proper sentencing authority beyond a reasonable doubt in order to comply with the requirements of the Sixth Amendment. Id. Contrary to Grand ison s position, Ring does not govern the penalty selection phase of the death sentencing process. Id. This conclusion is consistent with the concurring opinion by Justice Scalia, in which Justice Thomas joined, observing that today s judgmen t has nothing to do with jury sentencing. What today s decision says is that the jury must find the existence of the fact that an aggravating factor existed. Those States that leave the ultimate life-or-death decision to the judge may continue to do so by requiring a prior jury finding of aggravating factor in the sentencing phase or, more simply, by placing the aggravating-factor determ ination (where it logically belongs anyway) in the guilt phase. Ring, 536 U.S. 612-1 3, 122 S.Ct. at 2445, 15 3 L.Ed.2d at 579 (Scalia, J., concurring) (emph asis in or iginal). The holding in Ring clearly states that it is the finding of an aggravating circumstance, and only the finding of an aggravating circumstance, that results in death-eligibility. Because the Maryland death penalty statute requires that an aggravating circumstance be fo und by a proper sentencing authority beyond a reasonab le doubt, the Marylan d statute doe s not violate the Sixth Amendment requirements most recently stated in Appren di and Ring. Moreover, as we stated in Borcha rdt v. State, 367 Md. 91, 78 6 A.2d 631 (2 001): Notwithstanding the language in [Article 27,] § 414(e)(3) 28 directing this Court, on a ppellate revie w, to determine whether the evidence suppo rts the jur y s . . . finding that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating circumstances, the weighing process is not a fact-finding one based on evidence. Mitigating circumsta nces do n ot negate ag gravating circumstances, as alibi negates criminal agency or hot blood negates malice. The statutory circumstances specified or allowed under § 413(d) and (g) are entirely independent from one another the existence of one in no way confirms or detracts from another. The weighing p roce ss is p urely a judgmental one, of balancing the m itigator(s) against the aggravator(s) to determin e whethe r death is the a ppropriate punishment in the pa rticular c ase. This is a process th at not only tradition ally, but quintess entially, is a pure an d Constitu tionally legitimate sentencing factor, one that does not require a determination to be ma de beyon d a reas onable doubt. See Gerlaugh v. Lewis, 898 F.Supp. 1388, 1421-22 (D. Ariz. 1995), aff d, 129 F.3d 1027 (9th Ci r. 1997 ), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 903, 119 S.Ct. 237, 142 L.Ed.2d 195 (1998) (Constitution does not require weighing beyond a rea sonable d oubt); State v. Sivak, 105 Idaho 900, 674 P.2d 369 (1983), cert. denied, 468 U.S. 1220, 104 S.Ct. 3591 , 82 L.Ed.2 d 887 (19 84); Miller v. State, 623 N.E.2d 403, 409 (Ind. 1993) (weighing is a balancing process, not a fact to be proven; reasonable doubt standard does not apply). Id. at 126-27, 786 A.2d at 652. We affirm the reasoning explicated in Borchardt that the weighing process is not a fact-finding one deducible from the evidence, but rather is a matter of judgm ent. Ring applies only to th e finding o f aggrava ting factors d uring the elig ibility phase of sentencing and does not impact the selec tion ph ase of th e proce ss. Oken, 378 Md. at 259, 835 A.2d at 1152. As we noted in Oken, the Suprem e Court ha s consistently held that as long as there are no undue restraints upon the sentencing authority s ability to consider mitigating circumstances, there are no constitutional requirements regarding the actual act 29 of selection, or regarding the relative weight attached to the factors. Id. at 259-60, 835 A.2d at 1152. Therefore, we conclude that the jury s weighing of aggravating and mitigating circum stances under t he prep ondera nce of the evid ence sta ndard i s constit utional. Despite our repeated determinations that Appren di and Ring do not require that a jury must find that aggravatin g factors o utweigh m itigating facto rs beyond a re asonable d oubt, Grandison urges us to revisit the issue in light of the Supreme Court s decisions in United States v. Booker, __ U.S. __, 125 S.Ct. 738, 160 L.Ed.2d 621 (2005), and Blakely v. Washington, 542 U.S. 296, 12 4 S.Ct. 2531, 159 L .Ed.2d 403 (200 4), wherein the Co urt applied Apprendi princip les to rev erse the senten ces imp osed u pon B ooker a nd Bla kely. In Blakely, the Supreme Court addressed Washington State s determinate sentencing scheme. In that case, Blakely pleaded guilty to kidnaping , a cla ss B felo ny punish able by a term of not m ore than 10 years. Blakely, 542 U.S. at __, 124 S .Ct. at 2534-35, 159 L.Ed.2d at __. Other provisions of Washington law required the judge to impose a standard sentence of 49 to 53 month s, unless the judge found substantial and compelling reasons justifying the exception al sentence. Id. at __, 124 S.Ct. at 2535, 159 L.Ed.2d at __. Although the prosecutor recommended that the judge sentence Blakely within the standard range, the judge found that Blakely had acted with deliberate cruelty and se ntenced h im to 90 mo nths. Id. at __, 124 S.Ct. at 2535, 159 L.Ed.2d at __. The Supreme Court held that the statutory scheme violated the principles explicated in Apprendi because the relevant statutory maximum is not the maximum sentence a judge may impose after finding 30 additional facts, but the maximum he may impose without any additional findings. Id. at __, 124 S .Ct. at 2537, 1 59 L.Ed .2d at __. A ccording to the Court, [w]hen a judge inflicts punishment that the jury s verdict alone does not allow, the jury has no t found all th e facts which the law makes essential to the punishment, . . . and the judge exceeds his proper authority. Id., 124 S .Ct. at 25 37, 159 L.Ed.2 d at __ ( internal citation o mitted). In Booker, the sentence authorized for Booker s drug offense was not less than 210 nor more than 262 months in prison under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. __ U.S. at __, 125 S.Ct. at 746, 160 L.Ed.2d at __. The judge, in a post-sentencing proceeding, concluded by a preponderance of the evidence that Booker had possessed an additional 566 grams of cr ack c ocai ne an d tha t he w as gu ilty of obstructing justice, which placed Booker in a sentencing range of 360 months and life imprisonment; the judge imposed a 30-year senten ce. Id. In his statement of the Court s holding, Ju stice Steven s stated that Jones v. United States, 526 U.S. 227, 119 S.Ct. 1215, 143 L.Ed .2d 311 ( 1999) , Apprendi, and Ring made clear that the defe ndant has the right to have a jury find the existence of any particular fac t that the law makes essential to his punishment. Booker, __ U.S. at __, 125 S.Ct. at 749, 160 L.Ed.2d at __, quoting Blakely, 542 U.S. at __, 124 S.Ct. at 2536, 159 L.Ed.2d. at __. Relying on the Court s holding in Blakely, the Court e xplained th at its preced ents . . . make clear that the statutory maximum f or Apprendi purposes is the maximum sentence a judge may impose solely on the basis of the facts reflected in the jury verdict or admitted by the 31 defendant. Id. (emphasis in original). Acco rdingly, the Co urt reaffirm ed its holding in Apprendi: Any fact (other than a prior conv iction) whic h is necessa ry to support a sentence exceeding the maximum authorized by the facts established by a plea of guilty or a jury verdict must be admitted by the def endan t or prov ed to a ju ry beyond a reason able do ubt. Id. at __, 12 5 S.Ct. a t 756, 16 0 L.Ed .2d at __ . We are not persuaded that either Blakely or Booker requires us to reconsider the viability of the weighing aspect of Maryland s death penalty scheme. Unlike the issues before the Supreme Court in Blakely and Booker, the weighing process is not a fact-finding endeavor based on evidence , but is a determination requiring the sentencing authority, in this case the jury, to exercise its jud gment in b alancing th e aggrava ting factors a gainst the mitigating ones. Borchardt, 367 Md. 126-27, 786 A.2d at 652. Therefore, we affirm our prior holdings that Maryland s death penalty statute, which permits the jury to find that aggravating factors outweigh mitigating factors by a preponderance of the evidence, is constitutional under Apprendi v. New Jersey and Ring v. Arizona as previou sly stated in Borcha rdt v. State, 367 Md. 91, 78 6 A.2d 631 (2 001). Grandison s Eligibility for the Dea th Penalty Grandison argues that he is not death-eligible because he was found guilty of first degree murder as an accessory before the fact. We disagree. In Oken v. S tate, 378 Md. 179, 835 A.2d 1105 (2003), Judge Harrell, writing for this Court, summarized the history of Maryland s death penalty statute: 32 In response to the Supre me Cou rt s evolving jurispruden ce in this area, Maryland s death penalty statutory scheme has undergone multiple changes in the last thirty-[three] years. Maryland Code (1957, 1971 Repl. Vol.), Article 27, § 413, provided in relevant part that [e]very person convicted of murder in the first degree . . . shall suffer death, or undergo a confinement in the penitentiary of the State for the period of their natural life. This version of Art. 27, § 41 3 was fo und to be unconstitutional as regards the death p enalty in Bartholomey v. State, 267 Md. 175, 297 A.2d 696 (1972), in response to the Supreme Court s decision in Furman [v. Georgia , 408 U.S. 238, 92 S.Ct. 2726, 33 L.Ed.2d 346 (1972)]. It was replaced by Maryland Code (1957, 1976 Repl. Vol.), Article 27, § 413, applicable to offenses committed on or after 1 July 1975, which in turn was found to be unconstitutional in Blackw ell v. State, 278 Md. 466, 365 A.2d 545 (1976). The statute declared unconstitutional in Blackw ell was replaced by renumbered Maryland Code (1957, 1976 R epl. Vol., 1978 Cum . Supp.), Article 27, § 412, applicable to offenses committed on or after 1 July 1978. This version has remained substantively unchanged and is the first version o f the curren t Maryland d eath penalty scheme, a long with Maryland C ode (195 7, 1976 R epl. Vol., 1978 Cum . Supp.), [Article 27], § 413 and 414, containing the additional sentencing and review elements at issue in the present case. Additional mino r amendmen ts were made in 1995 and 1996. Article 27, §§ 412, 413, and 414 were repealed by Ch. 26, Acts 2002, eff ective October 1 , 2002 and re-enacted without substan tive cha nge as M aryland C ode (19 74, 2002 Repl. Vol., 2003 Supp.), Criminal Law Article, §§ 2-101, 2-201, 2202, 2-203, 2-301, 2-302, 2-303, and 1-401. Oken, 378 Md. at 194 -95, 835 A.2d at 11 14 (alterations added). Because Grandison was convicted prior to the 2002 re-enactment of the Code, we shall address his argument referring to the Code sections as they existed prior to the 2002 reenactment. Section 412 of Article 27 of the Maryland Code stated the punishment for murder, in pertinent part, as follows: 33 (a) Designation of degree by court or jury. If a person is found guilty of murder, the court or jury that determined the person s guilt shall state in the verdict whether the person is guilty of murder in the first degree or murder in the second degree. (b) Penalty for first degree murder. A perso n found guilty of murder in the first deg ree shall be se ntenced e ither to death o r to imprisonment for life. The sentence sh all be imprisonment for life unless (1) the State notified the person in writing at least 30 days prior to trial that it intended to seek a sentence of death, and advised the person of each aggravating circumstance upon which it intended to rely, and (2) a sentence of death is imposed in accordance with § 413. In Grandison s sentencing and re-sentencing proceedings after he had been convicted of first degree murder as an accessory before the fact, the jury found that the prosecution proved the aggrav ating factor o f contractu al murder b eyond a reaso nable dou bt. Section 413 of Article 27 of the Maryland Code defines the contractual murder aggravating circumstance as follows: (d) Consideration of aggravating circumstances. In determining the sentence, the court or jury, as the case may be, shall first consider whether, beyond a reasonable doubt, any of the follow ing aggrav ating circum stances exis t: *** (7) The defendant engaged or employed an other perso n to commit the murder and the murder was com mitted pursu ant to an agreeme nt or contrac t for remun eration or the promise of remuneration. *** (e) Definitions. As use d in this section , the following terms have the meanings indicated unless a contrary meaning is clearly intended from the c ontext in which the term s appear: 34 (1) The terms defendant and person, except as those terms appear in subsection (d)(7), include only a principal in the first degree. When attempting to ascertain the meaning of a statute, we first loo k to the norma l, plain meaning of the language . . . . If that language is clear and unambiguous, we need not look beyond the provision's terms . . . . Bienkowski v. Brooks, 386 Md. 516, 536, 873 A.2d 1122, 1134 (20 05); Davis v. Slater, 383 Md. 599, 604 , 861 A.2d 78, 81 (2004). Moreove r, when the meaning of a word or phrase in a constitutional or statutory prov ision is perfe ctly clear, this Court h as consisten tly refused to give that word or phrase a different meaning on such theories that a different meanin g would ma ke the provision mo re workable, or more consistent with a litigant's view of good public policy, or more in tune with modern times, or that the framers of the provision did not actually mean what they wrote. Bienkow ski, 386 Md. at 537, 873 A.2d at 1134. Grandison, under the definition of first degree principal provided in Johnson v, State, 303 Md. 4 87, 510 , 495 A.2 d 1, 12 (198 5), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 1093, 106 S.Ct. 868, 88 L.Ed.2d 907 (1986), could not have been convicted as a first degree principal be cause he d id not actually comm it a crime, eithe r by his own h and, or by an in animate agency, or by an innocent human agent. Id., quoting State v. Ward, 284 Md. 189, 197, 396 A.2d 1041, 1046 (1978). Nor could he have been convicted as a second degree principal because he did not aid[], counsel[], command[] or encourage[] the commission of the c rime in h is presen ce. Id. Therefo re, Grandison m ust be con sidered an a ccessory bef ore the fac t because h e is 35 guilty of felony by reason of having aided, counseled, commanded or encouraged the commission thereof, w ithout havin g been pr esent either a ctually or constructively at the moment of perpetration through his employment of Evans to kill the witnesses against him. Ward, 284 M d. at 197 , 396 A .2d at 10 46-47 . As we stated in Evans v. S tate, 382 Md. 248, 855 A.2d 291 (2004), the language of Section 413 (e)(1) specifically exempts S ection 413 (d)(7) from the limita tion that o nly a principal in the first degree to first degree murder is death-eligible and does not state that the term defendant as used in Section 413 (d)(7) only denotes first or second degree principals. Id. at 263, 855 A.2d at 299-300. The aggravating circumstance of employing another person to murder in exchange for remuneration clearly contem plates the inclusion of accesso ries before the fact because the individual e mploying the person did so prior to the commission of the murders and generally is not present at the tim e of the killings. Id. Had the General Assemb ly intended to limit the application of the death penalty to participants in contractual murder who qualify as principals under the law, it could have done so. Becau se, however, the Legislature made the blanket statement that Section 413 (d)(7) is not limited to first degree principals, we determine that it intended to include accessories before the fact involv ed in co ntractua l murde r within the class of dea th eligib le defe ndants . Id. Grandison, however, relies in large part on dicta in this Cou rt s opinion in Grandison v. State, 341 Md. 175, 198, 670 A.2d 398, 409 (1995 ), which states: Under our statutory schem e only those co nvicted as p rincipals in the second degree of first degree murde r who engaged or 36 employed another pe rson to commit the murder and the murder was committed pursuant to an agreement or contract for remuneration or the promise of remuneration, Art. 27, § 413 (d)(7), may be considered for the death penalty. That aggravating circumstance meets the narrowing requirement of the Eighth Amen dment. The above-quoted language, however, is an incomplete statement of the law governing eligibility under M aryland s death penalty statute because acce ssories before the fact are clearly those wh o engage or employ an other perso n to commit murder p ursuant to a contract. It is entirely consistent with the Eighth Amendment s narrowing requirement to include accessories before the fact who satisfy the terms of Section 413 (d)(7) within the class of those eligible for the death penalty and obviously w ithin the plain mean ing of th e statute . Grandison also relies on language from Gary v. S tate, 341 Md. 513, 520, 671 A.2d 495, 498 (1996) to support his argument that h e is not eli gible for the d eath penalty, where we stated: [P]ursuant to the Maryland death penalty statute, only principals in the first degree to first degree murder are eligible for the death penalty in Maryland. A principal in th e first degree is one who actually commits a crime, either by his own hand, or by inanimate agency, or by an innocent human agent. In addition, under the statute, one who employs another pe rson to kill is also considered a principal in the first degree for purposes of the death p enalty. Since a c onviction for con spiracy to murder does not itself establish that the defendant committed the crime by his own hand, by in anim ate a gency, by a n innocent agent, or employed another person to k ill, the death pe nalty is generally unavailable for conspiracy to commit first degree murde r. Id. (internal citations omitted and emp hasis in original). The above-quoted language in Gary 37 is consistent with our con clusion based on the p lain meaning of S ections 413 (d)(7) and (e)(1). The language in Gary merely stands f or the prop osition that, a lthough the death penalty is generally limited to those who have been determined to be principals in the first degree of first degree murde r, those individuals who p articipate in contractual murder are likewise death-eligible.7 Conclusion Because we have determined that the evidence at issue in the present case was not material to Grandison s 1983 trial or 1994 re-sentencing under the Brady rubric, we find that the State did not violate Grandison s due process rights as set forth und er Brady v. Maryland. Moreover, we hav e affirmed the previo us conclusion of th is Court that G randison s death sentence under Maryland s death penalty statute does not violate due process of law under Apprendi v. New Jersey and Ring v. Arizona due to the jury s ability to find that aggravating factors outweighed mitigating factors by a preponderance of the evidence. Furthermore, because Grandison was sentenced to death based on the jury s determination that he employed Evans to c ommit m urder as co ntemplate d by Maryland Code (1957, 19 82 Rep l. Vol.), A rticle 27 , Section 413 (d )(7), we hold th at his sen tences w ere pro per. 7 Grandison also argues, as an extension of his principals hip argum ent, that the de ath sentences were inconsistent with his conviction as a accessory after the fact and constituted a violation of double jeo pardy. Beca use we h ave determ ined that the G eneral As sembly intended to include accessories before the fact who employ another to comm it murder w ithin the class of d eath-eligible d efendan ts, we need not reach th is argume nt. 38 JUDGMENT OF THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR SOMERSET COUNTY AFFIRMED. COSTS TO BE PAID BY APPELLANT. 39 In the Circu it Court for S omerset C ounty Criminal Case No. 4010 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 16 September Term, 2005 ANTHONY GRANDISON v. STATE OF MARYLAND Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. Dissenting Opinion by Raker, J, which Bell, C.J., and Greene, J., join. Filed: December 16, 2005 Raker, J., dissenting, in which Bell, C.J., and Greene, J., join: I respectfully dissent. I adhere to the reasons set out in the dissenting opinions of Evan s v. State , ___ Md. __ _, ___ A.2d __ _ (filed Nov. 10, 200 5), Miller v. State , 380 Md. 1, 843 A.2d 803 (2004), Oken v. State, 378 Md. 179, 835 A.2d 1105 (2003), and Borchardt v. State, 367 Md. 91, 78 6 A.2d 631 (2 001). Chief Judge B ell and Judge Greene have authorized me to state that they join in this dissenting opinion.