What is the scope of the "prior conviction" exception to the general rule that a sentencing judge may not make factual findings that increase the statutory maximum criminal penalty? The Supreme Court has not yet answered that question. Accordingly, the answer depends on what level of scrutiny we apply to the sentencing decision. When we review de novo, we make an independent determination of the scope of the prior conviction exception, using our normal interpretative methods. When our review is constrained by the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 ("AEDPA"), though, we cannot grant habeas relief unless the state courts decision "was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court." 28 U.S.C. Â§ 2254(d)(1). Thus, under AEDPA, even if this court has reached a particular conclusion about the scope of the prior conviction exception, our view may not be the only reasonable one; if the state courts interpretation is also reasonable, we must deny habeas relief.