A convicted murderer serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole in the Iowa State Penitentiary tried a novel argument to get out of prison: His sentence was served, because he had already died four years ago.
Specifically, according to the Des Moines Register, Benjamin Schreiber’s heart stopped in 2015 after being rushed to the hospital for sepsis brought on by severe kidney stones. Doctors had to resuscitate him five times, put him on an IV, and performed surgery to repair his kidneys.
Schreiber told a district court in 2018 that since he was medically “dead” for a few minutes during this hospitalization, this meant he must be released, because he was sentenced to life without parole, “but not to life plus one day.” He also argued that his rights were violated by doctors saving his life in the first place, as he had a “do not resuscitate order” in effect.
The court ruled his argument “unpersuasive and wholly without merit,” and on Wednesday, a state appellate court, agreed, with Judge Amanda Potterfield writing, “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.”