Double jeopardy: The effects of retrial knowledge on juror decisions

Munro, James; Motson, Fred; Frumkin, Lara; Turner, Jim and Curley, Lee (2024). Double jeopardy: The effects of retrial knowledge on juror decisions. Journal of Criminal Psychology (In press).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/JCP-03-2024-0021

Abstract

Since the passage of the Double Jeopardy (Scotland) Act 2011, mirroring changes in other jurisdictions, a person who has been acquitted in Scotland can, under certain circumstances, be retried for that offence. Jurors could have knowledge of the previous acquittal verdict (whether not guilty or not proven) through media sources, potentially biasing the new jury in their decision-making. The current study invited 253 participants to give a verdict to a mock murder trial after either receiving pretrial information about the original verdict or no information about the case being a retrial. Significantly more acquittal verdicts were given when the participants were told that it was a retrial, compared to the control condition, irrespective of whether the prior verdict was not guilty or not proven. Findings are discussed in light of jurors’ knowledge of legal concepts and acquittal verdicts, and the increasing exposure of the general Scottish public to the not proven verdict due to increased media coverage.

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