Conjoined Twins are identical twins who share some physical connection. In particular, some share the same body, although both possess separate heads. As such, what are the legal ramifications for dicephalic twins, inasmuch as personhood, citizenship, and criminal prosecution are concerned?


Well they are two distinct people, as you reveal by using plural verbs throughout your question. I don't think anyone would endeavour to argue that two conjoined twins, each possessing his own head, mind and personality, are in fact one person (is that your question?).

The difficulty is criminal prosecution. Of course the guilty twin can be proceeded against and tried, but he cannot be incarcerated without unlawfully abridging the freedom of his (innocent) twin. In many jurisdictions this is simply unacceptable.

The only example I was able to track down was this headline:

Judge Releases Siamese Twin To Avoid Jailing His Brother


Unfortunately, it is behind a paywall.

If it is somehow unclear which twin is responsible for a crime committed by one of them, then in any common law jurisdiction—absence proof that they acted together—they must be both be acquitted.

  • I would imagine it'd be hard for one twin to commit a crime without the other one at least being an accessory, though.
    – cpast
    Jun 26 '15 at 0:51
  • Just because I use plural language doesn't mean the law would view two heads connected to one body the same way.
    – NoahM
    Jun 26 '15 at 1:50
  • FWIW, in the source you brought, the crime was making an illegal left turn. Maybe they didn't have fines at the time (this was in 1929) for illegal driving manoeuvres.
    – NoahM
    Jun 26 '15 at 1:53
  • @cpast Maybe not an accessory in the legal sense, but certainly in the sense of accoutrement. Jun 26 '15 at 22:21

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