27.05.22 Review

Reversible Justice: Jury acquittals are on the rise, but the verdicts are being increasingly overturned

In 2019-2021, the number of verdicts handled by a jury rose to 500-700 cases in Russia's district courts; and 200-240 cases in regional courts annually — about 20% of all criminal cases handled on those levels), experts of the Institute for the Rule of Law at the European University in St. Petersburg have estimated.

While the average acquittal rate in Russia remains less than 1%, juries acquitted one in three defendants at the district level and one in eight at the regional level.

Acquittal rate is growing year by year, but along with it the rate of verdicts overturned on appeal. In 2019, just over half of acquittals (54%) were overturned, and in 2021 — 71%.