Inmate Argues His Life Sentence Ended When He Died And Was Revived

By Bill Galluccio

November 8, 2019

Benjamin Schreiber,66

Four years ago, Benjamin Schreiber died while serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. Despite having a “do not resuscitate” order, doctors revived Schreiber on five separate occasions after he developed large kidney stones which caused him to suffer from severe septic poisoning.

After recovering from the near-death experience, Schreiber filed a petition demanding to be released from prison. He argued that since he died, he had completed the conditions of his jail term and should be freed immediately. A district court judge found that Schreiber's novel argument was “unpersuasive and without merit.”

Schreiber didn't give up, and his case made its way to the Iowa Court of Appeals. His argument did not persuade the panel of judges who ruled that he must remain in prison for the rest of his natural life.

"Schreiber is either still alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is actually dead, in which case this appeal is moot," Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote in the court of appeals opinion.

It is unclear if Schreiber will try to appeal his case to a higher court.

Photo: Iowa State Penitentiary

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