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A Prisoner Who Briefly Died Argues That He’s Served His Life Sentence

WedgeX

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,961
What does it mean to complete a sentence of life in prison? One prisoner claims he has done it by serving time until the moment of his death — plus another four years since — and says it is well past time to set him free.

The prisoner, Benjamin Schreiber, made that argument to an appeals court in Iowa, saying that when he briefly died in 2015, before being revived at a hospital, he completed his obligation to the state. He asked the three-judge panel to let him get on with his life.

The judges rejected his argument this week, ruling that a lower court had been right to dismiss his petition.
Judge Potterfield wrote in the ruling this week that because “life” is not defined by the state’s code, the judges had given the term “its plain meaning,” which they took to prescribe that Mr. Schreiber must spend the rest of his natural life incarcerated, regardless of whether he had been revived.

“We do not find his argument persuasive,” Judge Potterfield wrote, adding that the judges found it unlikely the Legislature would have wanted “to set criminal defendants free whenever medical procedures during their incarceration lead to their resuscitation by medical professionals.”

Well, it’s quite the try.
 

Aaronrules380

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
10,552
If you’re able to make an argument you never died. The idea that you died because your heart stopped briefly is laughable
 

Z-Beat

Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,187
...well, he does have a point...it does say he had to spend the rest of his NATURAL life incarcerated, and if they brought him back through artificial means, well..
 

Aaronrules380

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
10,552
...well, he does have a point...it does say he had to spend the rest of his NATURAL life incarcerated, and if they brought him back through artificial means, well..
This is prioritizing the letter of the law over the spirit of it in the dumbest possible way. But regardless he never actually died, resuscitatation isn’t resurrection
 

Chainshada

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,338
Would be a terrible move if a judge was stupid enough to allow it. Suicides and attempted suicides in prison would likely skyrocket, attempting to ride that line in hope of getting out.
 

Omegasquash

Member
Oct 31, 2017
3,257
This is prioritizing the letter of the law over the spirit of it in the dumbest possible way. But regardless he never actually died, resuscitatation isn’t resurrection
Right, but there are some folks that would give it the "technically correct" point until proven otherwise.

I don't believe it's technically correct, for the record.
 

tatsu123

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,519
Honestly, motherfucker has a point (he doesn't)... should have given him two life sentences, LOL.
 

Lundren

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,632
I read this story earlier, and one thing I found interesting was this:

Benjamin Schreiber, found guilty of first-degree murder in 1997 and sentenced to life behind bars without the possibility of parole, was hospitalized in March 2015 after large kidney stones caused him to develop septic poisoning, according to court records.

By the time he arrived at the hospital, he was unconscious, records show.

Though Schreiber signed a "do not resuscitate" agreement years earlier, medical staff called his brother in Texas who told them, "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.

Doctors proceeded to save his life by administering resuscitation fluids through an IV. Then he underwent surgery to fix the damage done by the kidney stones.
Which seems messed up, in my opinion.
 

Battlechili

Member
Oct 26, 2017
348
United States
People shouldn't be put in prison for life to begin with
The length of prison sentences in this country is absurd and misses the point of prison, puts an unnecessary cost on the state, and is cruel to prisoners.
 

God_Of_Phwoar

Member
May 29, 2018
2,750
Near London UK
It always irks me when people are described as "being dead for 2 minutes", or "briefly died". No they didn't. If you die, you die. You don't die and then you're ok. You weren't dead.
 
Sep 4, 2019
1,744
New Orleans
This shouldn't be allowed. If it is, it sets a dangerous precedent. Lifetime prisoners will attempt the same thing because why not, right? And imagine being the family of a victim where you see the murder go free because of this.
 

Cort

Member
Nov 4, 2017
2,027
It always irks me when people are described as "being dead for 2 minutes", or "briefly died". No they didn't. If you die, you die. You don't die and then you're ok. You weren't dead.
I mean, what do you call not having any signs of life then? Because I thought it's even accepted by doctors and nurses that you could die but be resuscitated back to life.
 

LastCaress

Avenger
Oct 29, 2017
907
He didn't die.

I mean, what do you call not having any signs of life then? Because I thought it's even accepted by doctors and nurses that you could die but be resuscitated back to life.
He had brain activity for sure. Did they check for that? Cardiopulmonary arrest doesn't mean death.
 

voOsh

Member
Apr 5, 2018
1,205
This was the first thing I thought of and am so happy to see it as the first reply. Well done.

It always irks me when people are described as "being dead for 2 minutes", or "briefly died". No they didn't. If you die, you die. You don't die and then you're ok. You weren't dead.
If I'm on the operating table and my heart stops beating I'm dead right? Surely I'm dead if no one does anything. But if the medical staff intervene and restart my heart then we can agree I'm alive. IDK I'm not necessarily disagreeing with your sentiment (our nomenclature of death implies permanence) but it seems to me that you can be technically dead and then brought back to life in medical terms.