What factors should the judge take into account?

Situation taken from a judge's decision: The crew of an English yacht were cast away in a storm on the high seas. In this boat they had no supply of water and no supply of food....that on the 18th day they suggested that one should be sacrificed to save the rest. That next day they went to the boy put a knife into his throat and killed him; that the 3 men fed upon the body of the boy for 4 days; that on the 4th day after the act had been commited the boat was picked up by a passing vessel and they were rescued, still alive. They were carried to the port of Falmouth and committed for trial. If the men had not fed upon the body of the boy they would probably not have survived to be picked up and rescued, but would within the 4 days have died of famine. The boy being in a much weaker condition, was likely to have died before them.... The real question is whether killing under the the conditions set forth be or be not murder. What factors should the judge take into account?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Interesting scenario. From a legal standpoint, it would be hard to find any mitigating circumstances that would reduce the charges from 1st degree intentional homicide. Since the facts are there and it is nothing is being argued, then I would have to think that the judge could not take the unfortunate situation into his own hands and let emotions get involved. The fact of the matter is that the men killed a boy to eat him. I think the judge would be doing the men a favor by ONLY charging them with 1st degree Intentional homicide and cannibalism. The men Intenionally killed the boy without any rights to do so, Im sure the boy did not want to be killed. Thus you would have to think 1st degree is the only way to go on that one, regardless of the circumstances. Killing another human for food is immoral and disgusting. This would be a crime that should be found as Mala in se (Wrong in itself, regardless if a law is substatively written)

    Source(s): Criminal Justice Grad
  • 1 decade ago

    Is this the story of the Essex, that led to Herman Melville writing Moby Dick.

    A whale hit a whaling ship and the crew were thrown into the water from the destruction caused by the whale hitting the whale boat. In a lifeboat a few of the survivors choose which one would be sacrificed and one of the survivors was killed and eaten on that lifeboat.

    And, the story continues as the Captain of that life boat eventually went, in person, to tell the mother of the eaten survivor what had happened. She never forgave the survivors.

    But, under the circumstances, the courts and society found the men in the life boat-not guilty. With reservations, we still question any acts of cannibalism, everywhere.

    This is a tough call...open seas and who has jurisdiction, etc...

    I don't believe there are any 'written in stone' standards in these cases. It all depends upon the facts, the circumstances and the judge trying the case.

  • 1 decade ago

    An itneresting story. I think there is an actual case on this very thing, happening in the 1700's or 1800's. I am not sure that there would be any mitigating circumstances for the judge to consider. The boy was alive and was killed. If he truly was in a weaker condition, they should have waited until he had died, and then they would have been guilty of desecration of a corpse. Nowadays, these men would hav been charged with a homicide.

  • 1 decade ago

    The only decisions up to the judge are [1] whether the justification or necessity (starvation) defense can be raised as an affirmative defense to murder as a matter of law; [2] if so, is it a complete or partial defense; and [3] is the justification standard subjective (actual belief) or objective (reasonable person) or both.

    And those decisions are not made by the trial judge, because there are centuries of precedent regarding those affirmative defenses. So, the trial judge only has to make the barest legal determination that a jury could possibly find facts to meet the elements of the crimes and/or defenses.

    The rest is up to the jury as the trier of fact, to determine what actions were committed, and whether the justifications were valid.

    Then, it's just a matter of plugging the jury's answers into the formula. If murder and no justification, guilty. If murder and justification, then as defined by law. If no murder, then not guilty.

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  • 1 decade ago

    they commited and act of murder, that they indeed feasted on a poor defenseless boy, that it was a selfless act and commited cannibalism. they had water in the boat from the rain from the storm that they could of make tools on instruments to fish (they are in the ocean). there are not factors for the judge to have mercy for those 3 sailors.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Did the killing take place in international waters , if so what judge has jurisdiction?

    They could have lasted longer than 4 days anyway.

  • 1 decade ago

    If the boy was that weak, he would have died soon anyways, so why didn`t they wait till he died? and murder is murder, If he was still alive, they killed him. But who knows what anyone would do in the same situation?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    if he was boiled or roasted

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