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Inmate who 'died' says he's served life sentence

By T.K. Randall
November 12, 2019 · Comment icon 7 comments

Can being resuscitated get you out of jail ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Rainerzufall1234
A man who is in jail for murder maintains that he should be released because he 'died' and was resuscitated.
What exactly does it mean when you are made to serve a life sentence ? Does 'life' really mean 'life' ?

It's a question that was recently at the center of a court case involving Benjamin Schreiber - a 66-year-old man who was jailed for life back in 1996 after he bludgeoned John Dale Terry to death.

In 2015 however, Schreiber suffered severe septic poisoning due to complications from kidney stones. He was rushed to hospital where his heart stopped and he had to be resuscitated.

After recovering from his ordeal, Schreiber began to contend that, because he had 'died', he had actually served his life sentence and was now being held illegally at the prison.
His case was brought before a district court judge who stated that he found this argument "unpersuasive and without merit" given that Schreiber was still very much alive.

More recently, the case was brought before the Court of Appeals, again without success.

"We do not believe the legislature intended this provision [...] to set criminal defendants free whenever medical procedures during their incarceration lead to their resuscitation by medical professionals," said Judge Amanda Potterfield.

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

As things stand, it doesn't look as though Schreiber will be getting out anytime soon.

Source: Science Alert | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Kittens Are Jerks 5 years ago
Nice try, but if he truly died he would be dead. Since he is still alive, prison it is. I agree with the judge's ruling. I don't, however, agree that they had the right to violate his wish not to be resuscitated, yet at the same time, I understand why doctors do their utmost to keep a person alive.  
Comment icon #2 Posted by Matt221 5 years ago
I"died" twice during a heart op of course I didn't really die I am here ..... or am I ? Lol
Comment icon #3 Posted by Rolci 5 years ago
Next thing you know, people with life insurances will start doing funny stuff to induce clinical death with someone ready to resuscitate them, then claim the life insurance. Wonder how many times a day some people would be happy to do this if it paid.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Dark_Grey 5 years ago
Imagine how excited this guy was when he first had this epiphany lol
Comment icon #5 Posted by highdesert50 5 years ago
Good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad intent and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirths. That we don't forget, the karma does indeed come around.
Comment icon #6 Posted by DanL 5 years ago
He should be freed... as soon as his victim is resurrected.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Big Jim 5 years ago
In a way his claim makes sense.  The interpretation of the law often hinges on the most arcane definitions of words.  "It depends on what the definition of is is".  It's the law's fault if they did not anticipate this type of situation occurring.  Does the benefit of the doubt end at the conclusion of the original trial? I believe in the days of hangings if a man survived the hanging the sentence was deemed to have been carried out.  It's different than the life insurance scam proposed above since the man had no intention to defraud.  

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