State v. Patterson
In State v. Patterson, 203 Ariz. 513, 515, P12, 56 P.3d 1097, 1099 (App. 2002) remanded for reconsideration on other grounds by No. CR 03-0007-PR (Ariz. May 28, 2003) the Court addressed a similar situation in which the jury had not reached an impasse but had asked for additional evidence after it had begun deliberating.
Specifically, the jury requested a map of the area where the shooting at issue had occurred. Id. at 513, P4, 56 P.3d at 1097.
The Court determined that the trial court did not err when it allowed the case to be reopened and a map admitted into evidence for the purpose of assisting the jury. Id. at 515, P12, 56 P.3d at 1099.
The Court recognized that Rule 22.4 did not "directly address questions from a deliberating jury that is not at an impasse," but noted that "the same considerations of appropriately assisting a jury-without prejudicing the rights of the parties-are applicable" when the jury was not at an impasse. Id. at 514-15, PP7, 10, 56 P.3d at 1098-99.
The Court also noted that Rule 22.4 was adopted so juries could function more effectively. Id. at 514, P7, 56 P.3d at 1098.
The rule was based in part on the recommendation that "the trial judge should fully and fairly respond to all questions asked and requests made by deliberating jurors concerning the instructions and the evidence, recognizing that the jurors are capable of defining their needs in deciding the case." Id. at 515 n.3, P10, 56 P.3d at 1099.
Furthermore, on the interaction between a trial judge and the jury, the Court noted:
This case is a perfect example of a trial judge who appropriately exercised his discretion and substantively responded to a jury's question during deliberations.
Although the jury was not at an impasse, e.g. Rule 22.4, the same considerations of appropriately assisting a jury-without prejudicing the rights of the parties-are applicable here: the trial judge should "fully and fairly respond," when possible. Id. at P 10.