Does Temporary Clinical 'Death' End A Life Prison Sentence?

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
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This sounds like one of those weird hypothetical scenarios that college students might sit up all night debating ...

Interesting situation and grist for the lawyers and judges ... So far, the legal eagles haven't agreed with the convict serving a life sentence, but you can't blame a guy for trying ...

A convicted murderer who momentarily died says his life sentence has been served

An Iowa inmate serving a life sentence says he should be a free man after he became ill, momentarily died, and had to be revived at the hospital. But the courts are having none of it.

Benjamin Schreiber was sentenced to life in prison without parole in 1997 after being convicted of first-degree murder. In March 2015, he developed large kidney stones that led to septic poisoning, according to court documents.

He eventually fell unconscious in his cell and was taken to a local hospital, where he was resuscitated five separate times, the documents say.

According to the Iowa Court of Appeals, Schreiber "claims he momentarily died at the hospital, thereby fulfilling his 'life' sentence ... Because his sentence has been fulfilled, he argues, he is imprisoned illegally and should be immediately released."

A district court previously denied Schreiber's motion. And on Wednesday, the Iowa Court of Appeals upheld the lower court's decision.

In its opinion, the appeals court said a "plain reading" of Iowa law says defendants guilty of a class A felony "must spend the rest of their natural life in prison, regardless of how long that period of time ends up being or any events occurring before the defendant's life ends."

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

An attorney for Schreiber did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday morning. It's unclear whether Schreiber plans to take the case to a higher court.
SOURCE: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/08/us/iowa-inmate-life-sentence-died-trnd/index.html
 

escargot

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It did for Jon Snow in Game of Thrones.

I love these kinds of things – when legal theory becomes philosophy.
Yup, there have been condemned prisoners whose executions failed, who were then granted reprieve on the grounds of, I dunno, God changed his mind or summat.
 

Lord Lucan

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I had read elsewhere that he had a Do Not Resuscitate request which was ignored. Where does one stand if your wishes aren't adhered to, especially in a case like this? Armchair legal eagles have at it!
 

Xanatic*

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If an execution fails, perhaps God changed his mind.
If someone needs to be rescusitated five times, I'd also say someone needs to take the hint, God wants him dead.
 

INT21

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Sort of spoils it when people drag God into the arena.
 

Comfortably Numb

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I had read elsewhere that he had a Do Not Resuscitate request which was ignored. Where does one stand if your wishes aren't adhered to, especially in a case like this? Armchair legal eagles have at it!
'Is your client still alive?

' Yes, you Honour'

'So, he's not dead then?'
 

maximus otter

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Spookdaddy

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...I love these kinds of things – when legal theory becomes philosophy.
Me too.

It strikes me that, in the modern age of advanced medical intervention our definition of 'death' is actually somewhat lacking, and nowhere near as obvious as might at first seem. But to me this is a red herring anyway - the actual question is much simpler: whether an individual ceases to be the same individual, with all the baggage that condition involves, if temporary 'clinical' death' occurs. I can honestly see no argument to support any other answer but a resounding no.

(And imagine the alternative. If you become Individual B after Individual A has 'died' you may find yourself waking into a world where you immediately get turfed out of bed, seeing as your medical insurance became null with the death of the latter. Not to mention your will being enacted and your estate broken up.)
 

Shady

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No, he is still alive, he is still him. We will start getting people who's dear ole granny dies for a few seconds sharing out her will, well she died your honour, so we are entitled to her money
He is still the murderer and he is still alive
 

Spookdaddy

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I can see that sovereign citizen/freemen on the land mob jumping on this - holding their breath for inordinately long periods of time, cleaning their guns in the dark, eating green bacon, or maybe running over themselves - in order to get out of paying alimony and parking fines etc

So it may have some peripheral benefits.
 
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