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The Speluncean Explorer's case - Term Paper Example

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The Speluncean Explorer's case

In essence, what this case showed is an apparent conflict between law and justice, when there is an exigency, and whether the law as written, still applies due to the highly unusual circumstances obtaining in this case, or to allow some exceptions to the rule of law, which might undermine the structure of an orderly society. Discussion Five members of the explorer society went inside a limestone cavern but soon found out they were involuntarily imprisoned due to a landslide which blocked the only known opening of the cave, and hence, blocked their exit for escape as well. It took some time for the rescue party to finally gain access to the trapped explorers which entailed great effort and expense. When they were finally rescued, after repeated landslides which killed ten rescuers, on the thirty-second day of their imprisonment, sordid details of their enforced stay inside the cave came to light. It soon was revealed the four survivors engaged in cannibalism by eating one explorer, which was Roger Whetmore, in order to survive their confinement, as they had brought along only scant food. About the facts of this case – the facts in this case caused considerable debate among all legal scholars, academicians, the judges, the jury and the general public because it was the highly unusual nature of cannibalism which rendered past legal precedents to be entirely useless in the determination of the correct judgment and sentence to be carried out against the four survivors. A careful and deeper review of the case facts showed an apparent conflict between the demands of justice and what the letter of the law requires to be considered as a just punishment or retribution. Some of the characteristics of these case facts which made everyone feel uncomfortable about in carrying out the death sentence as the legally-mandated conclusion are enumerated below: a. Prior opinion and permission was requested – Whetmore had first asked the rescue party to produce a physician whom the survivors could ask for an opinion on how long they can expect to live without food (from the twentieth day onwards for another ten days until the rescue) and he also asked for some permission whether casting lots to decide who should be eaten among them in order for the rest of the survivors to live long enough till the rescuers can reach them. He also requested to talk to a judge, government official, priest or minister who can sanction what he and the others with him were planning to do but his request for an answer was not granted. b. It was Whetmore's original idea – it was Whetmore himself who had first proposed a solution to their predicament by bringing up the idea with his fellow survivors and he had even suggested the use of a pair of dice he happened to have with him. In other words, there was even a tacit or tentative agreement among them to choose this odious and frightful expediency in order to survive, through a casting of lots using the pair of dice. What made these case facts unusual is that Whetmore withdrew or deferred the implementation of his own suggestion of cannibalism. c. Abdication by the jury – incredibly, due to highly unusual circumstances, even the jury found it ...Show more


THE CASE OF THE SPELUNCEAN EXPLORERS (A hypothetical legal case study) Name of Student (author) Name of University Introduction This paper examines the relevant issues in a hypothetical legal case which had involved five members of the Speluncean Society (an explorers club) which forced all the members of the judiciary trying the case, to take a hard look again at the case facts because of the unusual nature of cannibalism among the survivors who were trapped inside a cave they were exploring from an unexpected landslide, which closed their only exit point from the cave…
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The Speluncean Explorers case essay example
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