Wednesday, 20 November, 2019

Murderer serving life sentence dies briefly and appeals for release

Benjamin Schreiber Enlarge Image Benjamin Schreiber Iowa Department of Corrections
Patty Aguilar | 10 November, 2019, 17:24

Courtroom says sentence is no longer going to forestall till a health employee declares him ineffective.

Professor Primus said that if people were considered legally dead before being resuscitated, it would create a web of problems, not just in criminal cases but also for insurance and inheritance claims.

The Iowa Appeals Court's decided he shouldn't be freed because he's still among the living.

Two decades later, the murderer developed severe septic poisoning, with court records revealing that he had kidney stones so large that they "caused him to urinate internally".

Benjamin Schreiber, 66, was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after being convicted of murder. However, he argued in court that his sentence had been served after his heart stopped during a medical emergency four years ago.

He has filed several unsuccessful appeals, but in 2018 he argued in court in Wapello County that he had been resuscitated against his will, and that because he had, his "sentence has expired". The opinion does not make clear whether Schreiber had actually been declared dead by medical staff.

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His case was denied by the Iowa Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

The district court wasn't buying it, however, calling that argument "unpersuasive and without merit".

The judges said Schreiber's bid - while original - was "unpersuasive". It notes that Schreiber cited no case law to bolster his arguments.

According to his attorneys, his momentary "death" meant he had completed his life sentence and his return to prison was therefore illegal.

Schreiber's lawyer didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the ruling, and it's not clear whether the inmate plans to file another appeal. But the lower court didn't address that aspect of the case, and the appellate panel said it wouldn't either.

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