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Iowa Man in Prison Argues He Served Life Sentence After Taken to Hospital and Resuscitated

November 26, 2019 Criminal Law and Procedure

A man convicted of murder over 20 years ago claims he should be set free due to fulfilling his life sentence multiple times. Benjamin Schreiber was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1997 after he was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter. In 2015, he was taken to the emergency room for kidney stones. It was determined that due to the kidney stones he had gone into septic shock. He was revived five times despite a previously signed Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR). The physicians had called Schreiber’s brother who gave them permission to ease his pain. He was then resuscitated with fluids and taken into surgery where the kidney stones were removed.

Schreiber’s Argument

In 2018, Schreiber filed a post-conviction relief. He argued that since his heart was restarted multiple times that he had fulfilled his life-term sentence. He stated since he already died he already served his life sentence.

The Iowa Court of Appeals Decision

The district court denied Schreiber’s argument. The case went to the Iowa Court of Appeals where the district court’s decision was upheld. The court of appeals concluded that the felon’s sentence is not met until he is declared dead permanently.

ArborYpsi Law Takeaways

Schreiber’s argument is very interesting and persuasive. When looked at concretely it makes a lot of sense. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole. He was literally revived five times meaning he was deceased for seconds or minutes or even longer. His life ended and therefore, logically, when he was brought back to life he had been given a clean slate. A new life. Just because he is not permanently deceased does not mean he did not fulfill his life sentence. Hopefully, Schreiber will continue to appeal his case because his argument is valid.

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Call Sam Bernstein at 734-883-9584 or e-mail at bernstein@arborypsilaw.com.

Sam Bernstein is a criminal defense attorney in Ypsilanti, MI.

ArborYpsi Law is located at 4158 Washtenaw Ave. Ann Arbor, MI 48108.

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Ann Arbor Attorney Sam Bernstein regularly represents clients charged with criminal crimes. He is an Ann Arbor lawyer who has experience with DUIs, traffic tickets, drug crimes, and assault and battery cases. ArborYpsi Law specializes in criminal defense in Ann Arbor, MI.