Judge Ashley: What you need to know about jury instructions in Arizona

Posted at 4:13 PM, March 29, 2024

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Ariz. (Court TV) — During coverage of the Border Migrant Murder Trial, Court TV anchor Judge Ashley Willcott took a moment to explain jury instructions in the State of Arizona, where rancher George Alan Kelly, 75, is accused of fatally shooting Gabriel Cuen-Buitimea, 48, a Mexican citizen who was found dead on his land near the border of the United States and Mexico.

“First, you should know they get notepads and pens so they can take notes,” explained Judge Ashley. “I think that’s a good thing because then they can use those notes to refresh certain facts when they’re deliberating. Not all courts allow you to take notes.”

READ MORE: AZ v. George Kelly: Border Migrant Murder Trial

Judge Ashley also said that jurors in Arizona are permitted to ask questions. This is the process: After the lawyers ask questions, a juror who wants to ask a question has to raise their hand and pass up a slip of paper with their question written on it. This custom is quite unique, because not all states allow jury questions.

In addition, Judge Ashley noted that under Arizona law, only eight of the 12 jurors will deliberate. Four names will be randomly selected to serve as alternates and the remaining eight will be the ones deliberating.

Judge Ashley said that if she were presiding over the case, she would take the opportunity to remind the jury of all of these things throughout the trial, as needed, in order to preserve the integrity of the process.