Prisoner who ‘briefly died’ seeks release claiming he has served his sentence
An appeals court in Iowa, United States, has dismissed a petition by a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder seeking to be released.
The prisoner, Benjamin Schreiber, argued that he completed his sentence when he “briefly died” in 2015 before being resuscitated against his will.
Mr. Schreiber was in March 2015 – after suffering seizures and high fever – admitted at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics with septic poisoning caused by large kidney stones.
According to The New York Times, he lost consciousness at the facility and, when contacted, his brother – as stated in Mr. Schrebier’s petition – told the hospital that “you are to let him pass.”
The 66-year-old prisoner hence argued that the hospital, by resuscitating him, went against his brother’s directions and his own do-not-resuscitate order on file with the Iowa Department of Corrections.
The three-judge panel that heard the petition, which had earlier been dismissed by a lower court, however dismissed his argument last week.
“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,” wrote Judge Amanda Potterfield in the ruling.
“We do not find his argument persuasive,” added Judge Potterfield, further stating that it would be irregular “to set criminal defendants free whenever medical procedures during their incarceration lead to their resuscitation by medical professionals.”
Mr. Schreiber was convicted of murder for killing a man with an axe handle in 1996.