Hon. Luis Castillo
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About the Judge

Judge José Luis Castillo, Jr. is the senior Justice of the Peace in Pima County. He was first elected in September 1994. He is a former public defense attorney who earned his B.A. (anthropology) and his J.D. from the University of Arizona. He honorably served active duty in the United States Marine Corps and thereafter in the Army National Guard. He is a devoted father to his three children for whom he writes stories and poetry. Among his interests are improving court access through the use of technology, the architecture of Luis Barragán, MesoAmerican archaeology, music and the romantic works of Gabriela Mistral, George Eliot, Pablo Neruda and Kahlil Gibran. He has a passion for preserving the history of the Courthouse and particularly the courtroom formerly called "Courtroom F" & known now as "Courtroom 8" since mid 2009. The judge is one of a few fluently bilingual judges in the State of Arizona. El juez habla español e fala um pouquinho de português tambén. His other judicial concerns, duties and responsibilities have included:

At This Justice Court:

  • Presiding judge (1999 - 2000 contested election) (2001 - 2002 contested election)
  • Associate presiding judge (1997 - 1998)
  • Founding judge for the Cholla Magnet School Satellite Program. Actual cases (from speeding tickets to domestic violence to DUI jury trials) are heard at Cholla Magnet High School. This program allows TUSD students to see their 3rd branch of government first hand without leaving their campus. The Court of Appeals, Div. 2 was invited, by Judge Castillo in 2003, to hear oral arguments and sat in session at Cholla that year.
  • Environmental court judge (this assignment involved hearing title 7/17 cases of the Pima County Code)
  • Night Court Judge (2000 - 2001)
  • Jury trial review judge (this assignment involved determining every Friday which cases will be jury-tried within the following 2 weeks) [1997 - 2002]. This assignment was created by Judge Castillo to reduce the jury backlog by almost 40% in the period that he administered it. Prior to the jury review system the court had predawn hearings which were heard by all the judges at different times with little coordination and minimal advance notice for the court's calendar. Judge Castillo administered the jury trial review as a judicial function thus he personally inspected each file to determine if new charges had been filed, served and arraigned. He would also determine if the case actually was jury triable. If evidentiary or any other hearings needed to be set these issues were addressed as well. The philosophy behind jury reviews was to address as many problems or issues prior to the actual jury setting, ensure the oldest cases went to trial or were dealt with by non-trial disposition and reduce the time that an attorney is at the jury trial review. The latter point reduced costs to the private client and to the taxpayer (for court appointed cases.)
  • Liaison to Teen Court/Teen Court Advisory Board (1996 - 2005)
  • U of A College of Law clerking program (1996 - 2007)
  • Chaparral College intern program (2003 - 2005)
  • Authored the Digital Court Model that this court adopted and mostly uses (2009).

At Other Courts:

  • City of Tucson Special Magistrate (2004 - 2008)
  • Superior Court Commissioner (1999 - present, appointed but have not been called to serve)
  • Superior Court Judge Pro Tem (1999 - present, appointed but have not been called to serve)
  • Federal Court Pro Tem Magistrate, served once (1998)

For the Tucson Community:

  • Creator of Courtztour 2000 (A walking tour and explanation of the functions of the downtown courts for students: Federal Court, General Jurisdiction [Pima County Superior Court], Limited Jurisdiction Courts [Tucson City Court, Pima County Consolidated Justice Courts], and the Arizona Court of Appeals). Educators: contact jcastillo@jp.pima.gov

As an Author:

  • Children's Story Book Court a Power Point presentation on the right to a jury of one's peers to: Drachman School, Turning Point School, Lineweaver School and Castle Rock School.
  • Judge's Journal, Castillo, Wallis-Honchar & Morales, From E Complaints to E-Trials, Summer 2001.

Service to the Arizona Supreme Court:

  • Board member, Wendell Electronic Resource/Research website, 2004 - 2007
  • Board member, Judicial College of Arizona, 2001 - 2006
  • Moderator, 2004 & 2003 Arizona Judicial Conference
  • Co-Chair (Limited Jurisdiction) Arizona Judicial Conference 2000 & December 1999
  • Supreme Court of Arizona Advisory Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution (Jan. 1998 - July 1999)
  • Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee - Arizona Supreme Court (May 1998 - June 2001)
  • 1998 Judicial Conference Committee, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Publications Committee, Arizona Supreme Court (1997 - 1998)
And . . .
  • Successful petitioner to modify Rule 31 of the Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court (2002)
  • Faculty / presenter:
    • New Judge Orientation (April, January 2004)
    • Judicial Conference (June 2004)
    • Family Center of the Conciliation Court (2002)
    • Governor's Conference on Traffic Safety (1999, 2002, 2003)
    • Small Claims Hearing Officer Training (1999, 2000)
  • 1996 graduate of the National Judicial College's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Faculty Development workshop [one of 5 Arizona judges chosen for this workshop]

Judge Castillo is the impetus behind former Local Rule 1.6 (b) [settlement negotiations in criminal cases], the modification / rescission of 2 other local rules in 2003, and the satellite court program (Cholla High School, Global Courtroom, and Kino Hospital Small Claims Forum). In addition, he has prepared various aids for jurors, defendants, judges and attorneys such as:

  • Misdemeanor Compromise forms [form # JP 246]. A misdemeanor compromise allows a party to drop charges in certain offenses. Domestic Violence cases are not misdemeanor compromisable.
  • Pretrial statements for the defense and the state. [form # JP 247/ JP 248]. The pretrial statement allows the parties to place each other on notice as to witnesses, defenses and such. The failure to place the other side on notice at least 20 days before trial may result in preclusion of the evidence or the witness
  • Juror notebooks
  • Spanish D.U.I. obligation obligation / sentence forms
  • Spanish Domestic Violence obligation / sentence forms
  • Judicial aides such as:


Judge Castillo

Expect innovation. As an example, he envisioned and presided over this court's first e-trial in April 2001. He pioneered the use of this court's first electronically delivered decision in November 2002. Click here to view one of this court's first paperless decisions. In August 1997 this judge became the first Pima County Justice of the Peace to use Powerpoint jury instructions. This judge has also employed color to calm litigants and create a more juror-friendly atmosphere. His former courtroom D (now 6) was a neutral, light color therefore [the paint and labor were at the judge's own expense].

This courtroom's clock is set on universal coordinated time. There is a 5 - minute waiting period unless notice arrives in a timely fashion that the party will be late. Parties should call 724-3505 or email iquiroga@gmail.com if they believe they will be late.There is no guarantee that either Ms Quiroga or I will either read your message or email prior to the hearing. The courtroom has publicly accessible statute and rule books. This judge uses juror notebooks that he has developed. This judge uses his own juror questionnaires. The following is a quick overview of civil, civil traffic, criminal and landlord-tenant cases(now known as Eviction Actions).

Small Claims


   The Small Claim calendar is usually handled by non-lawyer trained volunteers. It now has a $3500 limit for cases eligible. Attorney, unless they are representing themselves, are not allowed to appear. Small Claims matters that are decided cannot be appealed. You cannot stop the timely transfer of a Small Claims matter to the Civil Division. This court pioneered electronic filing of Small Claims under former Court Administrator Pat Jacobs IV since 1995.

Burden of Proof:Burder of Proof:
The burden of proof is upon the moving party.

Rules That Apply:
None-Title 22 of the Arizona Revised Statutes (beginning at A.R.S. §§ 22-501- 524).



   The judge will likely ask if there is a potential for non-trial disposition and may engage in settlement conferences or mediation prior to or at the time of trial. Many parties have successfully settled cases before this judge in this manner. Cases are tried before the judge unless the parties have timely requested a jury trial. A jury may only be had if statutorily authorized or if allowable under the common law. The parties will be advised that the plaintiff goes first and has the burden of proof. Hearsay, unless there is an exception, is not allowed, so live body testimony is required. Parties representing themselves are strongly urged to consult Daniel J. McAuliffe's or Prof. Charles Marshall Smith's Arizona Civil Trial Practice for a straightforward and understandable discussion of small claims and civil practice.The proper party must be before the court (property managers, powers of attorney, and partners representing a partnership are not real parties in interest – this is found in the Rules of The Supreme Court of Arizona, specifically Rule 31 ).

Burden of Proof:
The burden of proof depends on the complaint (i.e. contracts = preponderance of the evidence; fraud = clear and convincing) and is upon the moving party.

Rules That Apply:
FORMERLY The rules of civil procedure   (NOW JUSTICE COURT RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE)  and the rules of evidence.

Civil Traffic


   Assuming that both parties timely appear, all photographs, charts, and letters must be exchanged prior to the trial's commencement. The trial is a relaxed-type of hearing in which the formal rules of evidence do not apply. The officer goes first and the Defendant then may question the officer. The defendant then testifies but the officer does not question the defendant. In addition to a trial, the defendant has 3 choices:

  1. Ask to go to defensive driving school if otherwise eligible (only one moving violation, and at least 2 years between each date of the traffic violation - see A.R.S. 28-3392).
  2. Plea responsible and pay the civil sanction and receive the accompanying driving points on the license.
  3. Plea "admit but explain"= "I committed the violation but I have a good explanation". This plea may reduce the standard civil sanction but the points still remain.

Burden of Proof:
The burden of proof is upon the state and it is by a preponderance of the evidence.

Rules That Apply:
The rules of procedure in civil traffic violation cases.

Criminal Cases


   A victim has a right to be heard concerning release, punishment and restitution, if awardable. See ARS 13-4401 et seq. Unless the accused is indigent and the state is asking for jail the court will not provide an appointed attorney. Cases are tried to the judge unless the defendant has timely demanded a jury trial. The following cases are jury-triable, either by common law or by statute:

  • conspiracy
  • DUI
  • conducting a gambling game
  • herding/watering sheep/livestock on another's property
  • indecent exposure
  • reckless driving
  • shoplifting

The order of procedure for jury trials and other jury information is in the courtroom.

Briefly, the parties:

  1. give a mini opening
  2. select a jury which is then instructed and admonished.
  3. present opening statements
  4. present their case
  5. hear the judge's stem final instructions
  6. hear the judge read the remaining final instructions

A final note about jury trials...

   Juror survey results reveal that jurors favor brevity, visuals and preparedness. Your exhibits should be pre-marked, pre-done and organized. In a D.U.I. case consider preparing a time-line. Remember to avoid lawyerisms or unexplained terms (f.s.t.'s, h.g.n. etc). You may want to look at the court's juror notebooks and notebooks for the plaintiff/defendant. They are available for public viewing in Courtroom F, by request, with the bailiff. If you intend to publish your admitted exhibit, provide 6 extra 8 x 11 copies of the exhibit to the court by 4 p.m. of the business day prior to the jury. All jury instructions and in limine motions are also due at the same time.

Burden of Proof:
The burden of proof is upon the state and it is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Rules That Apply:
The rules of criminal procedure , the rules of evidence and the local rules.



   This judge will determine if there are any oral counterclaims/defenses and whether all parties waive their right to a jury. A counterclaim exists when the defendant counter-sues the plaintiff and asks for damages. The counterclaim must be based on rent. The complaint must be timely; thus, the judge will examine the 5 or 7 day notice and hold the plaintiff to the actual notice served. The proper party must be before the court (property managers, powers of attorney, and partners representing a partnership are not real parties in interest). The proper party must be before the court (property managers, powers of attorney, and partners representing a partnership are not real parties in interest – this is found in the Rules of The Supreme Court of Arizona, specifically Rule 31 ). The summons and complaint must be properly and timely served as well.

The landlord (unless it is a counterclaim) has the burden of proof and it is by a preponderance of the evidence.

Rules That Apply:


Judge Castillo is available at jcastillo@jp.pima.gov or (520) 724-3506 or by fax at (520) 798-1842 or at 240 N Stone , Tucson, AZ 85701


A Justice of the Peace is an elected judge that serves in a court of limited jurisdiction ( also known as a lower court). The justice of the peace is the only elected judicial position in Pima County.

The jurisdiction of the Justice Court includes determining probable cause to stand trial in felony preliminary hearings, deciding eviction matters in landlord-tenant cases, adjudicating criminal misdemeanor charges, resolving civil law suits up to $10,000.00 and hearing traffic matters of a civil nature [speeding and parking tickets mostly].


No, the basic requirements are found in A.R.S. § 11-402:

A person shall not be eligible for a county office, whether elective or appointive, nor shall a certificate of election or commission issue to any person, unless he is, at the time of his election or appointment, eighteen years of age or over, a resident of the state, an elector of the county or precinct in which the duties of the office are to be exercised and able to read and write the English language. The board of supervisors shall be the sole judge of such qualifications, subject to review by certiorari in the superior court.

This court, however, has a long history of having elected/appointed attorneys. Indeed, currently the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court has 7/8 judges that have at least a 4 year degree plus a 3 year law degree. Arizona attorneys also have to pass the Arizona State Bar and there are 6/8 judges in the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court that hold membership in good standing therein. Of these, at least 2 have been criminal trial attorneys (including felonies). All have completed the New Judge Orientation (the required 2 week “baby judge” school).


Please consult with an attorney but this statute should be considered :

25-124. Persons authorized to perform marriage ceremony; definition

  1. The following are authorized to solemnize marriages between persons who are authorized to marry:
    1. Duly licensed or ordained clergymen.
    2. Judges of courts of record.
    3. Municipal court judges.
    4. Justices of the peace.
    5. Justices of the United States supreme court.
    6. Judges of courts of appeals, district courts and courts that are created by an act of Congress if the judges are entitled to hold office during good behavior.
    7. Bankruptcy court and tax court judges.
    8. United States magistrate judges.
    9. Judges of the Arizona court of military appeals.
  2. For the purposes of this section, "licensed or ordained clergymen" includes ministers, elders or other persons who by the customs, rules and regulations of a religious society or sect are authorized or permitted to solemnize marriages or to officiate at marriage ceremonies.


As of 2004:

On the south the boundary is Hughes Access Road from the Nogales Highway to Wilmot Road including all of Davis Monthan Airforce Base, then East on Irvington Rd up to Houghton, then -- Northwest on Pantano Parkway and then West to Golf Links Road. The precinct borders then go North on Craycroft Road up to Broadway Blvd. where it turns west until Country Club Road. At that point the boundary stretches North up to 6th Street, then west at Kino, then South up to South Ajo Way. At Ajo Way and Kino the Precinct runs West to 6th Avenue, then South to Irvington Road. The precinct turns East on Irvington Road to Country Club Rd. where it runs south to Valencia. On Valencia Precinct 2 turns West to the Nogales Highway.

Justice Precinct 2 encompasses all of Reid Park and the totality of the Tucson International Airport

Prior to 2004:

On the south the boundary is Hughes Access Road from the Nogales Highway to Wilmot Road including all of Davis Monthan Air Force Base. At Craycroft and Broadway the northern border runs to 1-10. On the west it is 1-10 up to South 12th to Irvington.

Justice Precinct 2 encompasses the city of South Tucson, all of Reid Park and the totality of the Tucson International Airport

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