AVISO (12/03/23):
Debido a la gran cantidad de juicios por jurados llevados a cabo en una decena de provincias de Argentina, la AAJJ dejará de publicar crónicas individuales por cada juicio y comenzará a publicar resúmenes mensuales

sábado, 18 de febrero de 2023

ARGENTINA: Trial by jury jury returns succesfully to the Province of Chubut after 150 years. A man was guilty of murder in Gaiman

Gaiman jury retires to deliberate for verdict

Today is a great day for democracy in Chubut, in Argentina and in Latin America. In a civic day full of emotion and long-cherished desires, the first trial by jury in Chubut in the 21st century ended successfully.

During the 20th century, the only flame that existed in the country of a trial by jury, according to the Constitution of 1853, was extinguished by the written inquisitorial process. Those days are over forever in Chubut. There is no turning back. After so many years of struggle and frustration, the Framers´ wishes that crimes should be tried by juries have finally come true.

Chubut was the first and the only province in Argentina to hold more than 40 jury trials, either for criminal and civil cases, thanks to the settlers who came from Wales in 1865. That accolade belongs exclusively to Chubut, a very beautiful Patagonian province (See here).

A wonderful twist of fate: this trial was held in Gaiman, the hometown of Welsh immigration and the same city where the first jury trial of Argentina´s history took place in 1865.

Chief Public Defender Daroca, Mayor James and Justices Banfi and Vivas

There was an emotional tribute by Mayor Darío James to such an event, with the presentation of plaques.

The trial and the verdict made headlines all across the country.

The AAJJ honors the people who fought for decades in Chubut to make this a reality today: José Raúl Heredia, Alfredo Pérez Galimberti, Alberto Binder, Rodrigo Freire, Jorge Benesperi and so many others.

Binder, Pérez Galimberti  y Heredia


Full room with the presence of DA Miquelarena

With a unanimous guilty verdict against the defendant Alejandro Aaron Romero Curiqueo for murder with a firearm, the first jury trial held under Law XV No. 30 came to an end in Gaiman.

After 18:40 in the evening, the jury of six women and six men finished deliberating and announced that they had reached a verdict. Dressed in a black robe and gavel, Judge Gustavo Castro -of impeccable performance- ordered the jury foreman to read the verdict in open court and with the defendant standing.

The murder occurred on February 17, 2022 in the northeast area of Trelew.

The prosecution was led by Griselda Encinas and Lucas Koltsch. Their opening argument was noteworthy. Meanwhile, Gladys Olavarría and Fabián Gabalachis, also with a solid performance, were in charge of the defense of the accused. All of them, the judge and the parties, had the honor of being the first to inaugurate the jury trial of this era in Chubut.

Before closing the evidence stage, Curiqueo decided to speak in front of the jury, the judge and the parties. He told his version of the events that took place that night near the intersection of Abraham Matthews and Cacique Nahuelpan Norte streets, in the neighborhood “8 de diciembre”.

After hearing the defendant, the jury left the courtroom so that the judge, the prosecution and the defense could discuss the terms of the instructions that the judge would deliver to the jury after the closing statements of the parties.

Statements and instructions

Prosecution and Defense (together with Curiqueo)

Prosecutor Lucas Koltsch was in charge of the closing argument and in his speech in front of the jury he made special emphasis on the fact that the evidence seen by the jury throughout the trial showed the impossibility of Juan Martin Montesinos to give his version of what had happened, since he is the mortal victim of the event. He also pointed out that the defendant clearly got out of his car armed and the consequences this had on the subsequent events.

In his presentation on behalf of the defense, Dr. Fabián Gabalachis  argued to the members of the jury that Alejandro Aaron Romero Montesinos had neither the will nor the determination to kill "Pelado" Montesinos, but that he reacted to the aggression and "anger" of the victim, in what would be a case of self-defense or, alternatively, excess of self-defense.

Both parties highlighted the conduct and courage of the jury in assuming this new role that the law imposes on ordinary citizens in the trial of the most serious crimes within the criminal scale.

After listening to the parties, Criminal Judge Gustavo Castro gave instructions to the jury on how to conduct themselves during the deliberation, in aspects ranging from the responsibility of the jury, the evaluation of the evidence or the application of the law to the crime to be judged, among others.



The magnificent organization of this jury trial deserves a special mention. Rarely has such professionalism and commitment been seen on the part of the Judicial Branch. The Judicial Office headed by Patricia García made this trial run as smoothly as any common law trial. 

This would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of the Superior Court of Justice. Since May 2022, the SCJ has set up the commission for the implementation of Law XV No. 30, composed by Judges Camila Banfi and Daniel Baez, with the support of Chief Judge Mario Vivas. The prosecutor's office also conducted several training courses for its members.

The entire Judicial Office

Read news here:

- Jus Noticias (14/02/23): "Juicio por Jurados: El Poder Judicial entregó reconocimiento en Gaiman" (ver)

- El Chubut (16/02/23): "Juicio por Jurados: declararon culpable al imputado por homicidio" (ver)

- Crónica (16/02/23): "Declararon culpable al acusado en el primer Juicio por Jurados de Chubut" (ver)