spelucian explorers


Speluncean Explorers v. Court of General Instances of the
County of Stowfield (4300)
Supreme Court of Newgarth

Summary of the Key Facts
A. Five members of the Speluncean Society went into a cave to explore. While they were in the cave a landslide occurred covering the entrance and trapping them in.

B. Twenty days later after the entrapment messages were sent from the explorers to a rescue team outside of the cave.

C. The explorers explained their conditions and rations to doctors and asked if they would be able to survive until the predicted date they would be saved. The doctors said no.

D. Eight hours later, Roger Whetmore speaking on behalf of the explorers, asked if they could survive if they ate one of their own. The doctors said yes.

E. Whetmore than asked the doctors if it would be advisable to cast lots to determine who should be eaten. The doctors didn\'t answer. He then asked if any judge, official, minister, or priest was present none of the rescuers said they were.

F. On the twenty third day Whetmore was eaten.

G. Whetmore was the explorer who came up with the idea of killing someone in order for the others to survive.
H. Whetmore also came up with the idea of rolling dice to decide who would be killed
I. After the rescue of the four remaining explorers on the thirty second day the survivors were indicted for the murder of Roger Whetmore.

The Issue
Is being trapped in a cave with little chance to live an exception to the statute N.C.S.A (N.S.)12-A?

The Holding
No. The Supreme Court sentenced the four survivors to death for the murder of Roger Whetmore.

Summary of Courts Reasoning
The Supreme Court was evenly divided so the original conviction of murder from the Court of General Instances was affirmed.

Law and morality most definitely share a relationship. Lon L. Fuller, the author of "The Case of the Speluncean Explorers", distinguishes this connection between the morality of duty and the morality of aspiration, both of which bear on the design and operation of social institutions. Well in this case, the social institution happens to be the Supreme court of Newgarth in the year 4300. A group of four members of the Speluncean Society, which was an organization for amateurs interested in the exploration of caves, are appealing there sentence handed to them from the Court of General Instances of the county of Stowfield. A panel of five justices presided over the case, and after extensive hearings, each justice reached a unique judgement.
The events that took place in the case are a bit extraordinary. Roger Whitmore and the four defendants, also members of the society, penetrated the interior of a limestone cavern. While they journeyed further into the cave, a landslide occurred, and jammed the only means of entrance and exit for the cave. As the men realized they were in a serious situation, they set camp near the boulders that set them apart from the world to wait on a rescue party. The task to remove the boulders proved to be a difficult one for the rescuers, and days went by without success. On the thirty second day, success was finally achieved, but only four members of the society had survived this tragedy. The explorers carried into the cave only scant provisions, so the need for food was great in order to survive. The life of one of the explorers was taken by the others to use as nourishment for the remaining survivors. The testimony heard in the first case, declared that the life of Roger Whetmore had been taken, but it was he who initially proposed the killing of one explorer to feed the remaining. Whetmore proposed the rolling of dice to declare the victim. The dice toss went against Whetmore, so he was put to death and eaten by his companions. This is where the courts enter this bizarre case. After the survivors were treated and released from a stay in the hospital, they were indicted for the murder of Roger Whetmore. A trial found the defendants guilty of murder and sentenced them to be hanged. The defendants wanted the case to be sent to a higher court and it was heard before a panel of five justices.
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