Extrinsic Evidence In Arizona

In State v. Hall, 204 Ariz. 442, 447, P 16, 65 P.3d 90, 95 (2003), the jury convicted the defendant of felony murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, and theft. Id. at 445, P 1, 65 P.3d at 93. To connect the defendant to the victim's disappearance and death, the State relied in part on "grainy" convenience store surveillance videos it argued showed the defendant attempting to use the victim's credit card. Id. at 446, P 9, 65 P.3d at 94. After the bailiff told at least one juror the defendant had tattoos on his wrist, some jurors "methodically" looked for tattoos on the person in the videos during deliberations. Id. at 447, P 13, 65 P.3d at 95. The supreme court reversed the defendant's conviction and remanded for a new trial because it could not say beyond a reasonable doubt the improperly introduced evidence of the defendant's tattoos did not contribute to the verdict. Id. at 449, P 25, 65 P.3d at 97. In so holding, the supreme court identified several factors to assist courts in determining whether extrinsic evidence has contributed to a verdict: whether the prejudicial statement was ambiguously phrased; whether the extraneous information was otherwise admissible or merely cumulative of other evidence adduced at trial; whether a curative instruction was given or some other step taken to ameliorate the prejudice; the trial context; and whether the statement was insufficiently prejudicial given the issues and evidence in the case.