Law in Contemporary Society
Starting with Gilbert and Sullivan Operettas. Appropriate to period tone and style.

Almost all of them have cannibal jokes in them.

Announcements: no class tomorrow. This afternoon, first essays that have not been reviewed by Eben yet will be locked. Question about grades. Eben says he reminds us that all 1st year course must derive 51% of grade from anonymous grading. Eben thinks it makes no sense and is not helpful. We WILL write two essays together. But at end of course we will do something that is anonymous. After Spring vacation we will sort this out. Eben’s proposal: 51% of the grade is an anonymous exercise in which everyone gets same grade. Eben asking us to think it over and then as a class we will make a decision after Spring vacation.

Sept 1884: customs house. 3 banged up people (Dudley, Stephenson and Brooks) are home after being shipwrecked in South Atlantic in an open boat. In morning when they landed, they were sailors that had been through a hard time. By the end of the day, they are filling new roles: apprehended felon and possible government witness. Questions before us: How? and Why?

Why is Dudley in Customs House? Have to report on ship wreck (loss report). Have to answer what happened to ship and what happened to crew.

In process of making loss report, Dudley turns from banged up sailor to being a felon-suspect.

(1) What happened to the ship? Stress of weather. (2) What happened to the boy? Killed.

Dudley is the ship’s captain. Used routine language that had characteristics of being candid, straight forward but Spartan.

At Custom’s House, Dudley is weakened and barely keeping it together. How is he behaving? Was very talkative and open about what happened. Gave specific detail of killing and even acted it out. Said he wanted to keep the knife as a souvenir. Sergeant Lafferty sees this as problematic.

Why does Dudley want the knife and the ribs of the boat? What was the one thing they were careful to throw away? They hid the remaining meat from the cabin boy. Perhaps he sees himself of a hero. Knife and boat are trophies to remind him of the heroic journey. Dudley thinks he saved all who could be saved and brought them home. Thinks that Parker could not be saved.

What is it that doomed Parker? He drank sea water. In that boat, the reality was that sea water is poisonous. Others in boat thought that he would die after he did so.

That forthrightness may have an edge to it.

To Sergeant Lafferty, though, it looks like Dudley is not as ashamed as he should be. Where is the remorse?

Then over weekend, police discuss whether to arrest him. Town sees Dudley as a hero. Also whether arrest will lead to prosecution.

What do police do? They arrest people; introduces people to the system. System requires next step to occur: intention to prosecute. No point in throwing someone into system if there is no prosecution.

The problem is that over the weekend, the home office is not prepared to make a policy decision. What is the problem with waiting? Sailors might leave and evidence might disappear.

This system is relatively new. Local officials want to make arrest, but local population does not. So wants orders from central office. Why would central office want to arrest sailors? Home Office had tried, just a few years before in a maritime cannibalism case, to bring charges and had failed on a technicality. So Office wants to find a case and say something. They think they may have a case here which would fit the bill. Must pay cost of holding them in face of local resistance from population in order to investigate.

To have all of this happen, need (1) central prosecutorial office and (2) technology. State using criminal prosecution and press to send message. Using criminal trials to state policy.

Inside the Customs House there are two different understandings about the event: Dudley vs. Sergeant Lafferty.

Difficult to say who is right at this stage. Can at least investigate one question: what is Dudley arrested for?

Holding him for killing Parker or for eating Parker? Must prove the pleading. Indicted for killing Parker. Why not indicting for cannibalism? It is not a felony crime.

What about jurisdiction? Got jurisdiction from act that gave jurisdiction to common courts when murder

If Parker were already dead, what could they charge Dudley with? Attempted Murder.

What if there is a good faith belief that Parker is dying? If Parker is inevitably dying, it is difficult to make malice of forethought out of killing (in 19th Century England).

Evidence of cannibalism? Who are the cannibals? 3rd sailor has made agreement to be a witness and to say that he drank some blood under duress. Why is drinking blood different than eating of flesh? In 19th century, people sometimes drink blood for medical reasons. Also, in Catholicism you drink “blood” of Christ. Have all kinds of little rituals that involve blood that do not involve the same taboo as eating flesh.

In boat, go through a lot of work to save the blood. Will keep them alive in the short term. Eating the flesh?

Dahmer: first killing was an accident during sex. Started killing sex partners. Meant to dispose of these bodies in time. What motivated his eating was the desire to maintain relationship with victim.

Dudley sees his situation as a matter of duty. Saving crew. But has a difficult time squaring doing his duty with eating flesh of Parker.

Nettie Brooks: witness for prosecution. Who is he? Unattached man. This guy takes orders.

Brooks gives us a story that has been packaged by prosecution.

What is the rule the court is making about necessity? There is at least one defense of necessity that court cannot overrule. Must make case about murder because that is what indictment says… but that is not what they are trying to control. Trying to control the eating.

At end, court saying you have duty to starve rather than killing. Trying to interfere with custom of drawing lots in boat to see who will die. But was there ever really a custom of drawing lots? Is this about eating or is it about drawing lots and killing?

-- SandorMarton - 12 Mar 2008



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r1 - 12 Mar 2008 - 13:13:39 - SandorMarton
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