Prisoner resuscitated claims he has fulfilled life sentence, motions to be released

Cheryl Sanders
November 10, 2019

The novel legal argument came to light this week when the Court of Appeals of Iowa denied an appeal for inmate Benjamin Schreiber, who has been in prison since he was convicted of murder in 1997.

In 2015, Benjamin Schreiber, 66, collapsed inside his jail cellular from septic poisoning simply after kidney stones triggered him to "urinate internally", in keeping with an appeals court docket ruling this week. He slipped into unconsciousness and was rushed to the hospital, where, despite a "do not resuscitate" order he'd signed, he was resuscitated five times with "adrenaline/epinephrine via an IV".

"Schreiber is either alive, in which case he must remain in prison", Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote, "or he is dead, in which case this appeal is moot".

Schreiber's brother told the hospital staff that "if he is in pain, you may give him something to ease the pain, but otherwise you are to let him pass", according to court records obtained by The Des Moines Register. Schreiber has since argued that he's served his life sentence as a result.

An appeals court just ruled that's not how it works.

According to a report from USA Today, an Iowa man says he has fulfilled his life prison sentence after he died and was resuscitated at the hospital.

Schreiber was sentenced to life in prison without parole for bludgeoning John Dale Terry to death in Agency, Iowa in 1996.

A district court docket disagreed along with his argument, and Schreiber took the state of affairs to the Iowa Courtroom of Appeals.

He said his sentence ended when his heart stopped during a medical emergency four years ago, even though he was revived. The courts have not addressed whether he was wrongfully resuscitated.

Schreiber's criminal defense attorney, Denise Gonyea, wasn't immediately available for comment on Friday.

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