Carl the criminal robs a store as his first crime. Somehow, he is found not guilty of this (the 12 jurors do not unanimously agree on his guilt). After walking free, he immediately goes back to the same store, and is caught again as a suspect from committing the same exact crime.

Double Jeopardy says you can't simply be tried over the same exact instance of a crime. Still, my 2 main questions are

  1. Even though Carl was found "not guilty" the first time, can that first case be used as evidence against him for the current second case?
  2. If Carl is found guilty for this second case, can the sentence be extended to include consequences from the first case (which it is probably obvious now he should've been found guilty for).

Or does Double Jeopardy protect Carl from having that first case used against him in any way?

This is just one simple example. In a more extreme case, consider a murder. Carl was found "not guilty" of murdering Mary, but was found trying to murder the rest of Mary's family the next day.

P.S.: the impetus for this question is inspired by Yakuza Judgement. In it, a character refuses to defend themselves from a crime they're accused of, because they don't want to admit to another crime they committed.

1 Answer 1


What you are describing is closely related to "acquitted conduct sentencing".

On the first point, "Carl's" previous acquittal cannot be considered evidence that he committed a later crime; the subsequent crime must be tried on its own merits, in isolation.

However, for your second question, once convicted of that crime, his previous acquittal (rather surprisingly) can be taken into account during his sentencing.

Many legal minds have found the practice of "acquitted conduct sentencing" extremely troubling, and there are hopes the US Supreme Court could prohibit the practice in the near future. But for the moment, it is still an allowed practice.

Summary article here

"This practice allows judges to use conduct a defendant was acquitted of by a jury to increase a defendant’s sentence or punishment for a separate crime. This tool essentially allows judges to veto a jury’s decision when they merely disagreed with their conclusion."

Another good article on the topic

Of the seven charges, [he] was convicted on two. Under federal advisory sentencing guidelines, the two convictions generally warranted a sentence of 24 to 30 months in prison.

The district court, however, calculated a range of 87 to 108 months, based on the charges on which [he] had been acquitted. [he] was then sentenced to 84 months (seven years) in prison.

[He] was indicted on seven charges, convicted of two, and acquitted of five. But his sentence was exactly the same as it would have been had he been convicted by the jury of all seven charges — and three times as high as it would have been had the judge considered only the two charges of which the jury convicted [him].”

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