Benjamin Schreiber died and was resurrected while serving a life sentence in the US. Now he demands his freedom, claiming he has already served his sentence.
By Rafael Battaglia
Nov 12, 2019, 7:20 pm
Apparently, Iowa State Penitentiary detainees have been watching a lot of Game of Thrones. It is impossible not to notice the similarity between the cases of Benjamin Schreiber, sentenced to life in prison in 1997 for murder, and Jon Snow, who came out the back door of the Night's Watch after a witch brought him back from death. Both used the very same argument to support their claims to freedom.
– (HBO / Playback)
Like Snow, 66-year-old Schreiber was killed for some time after falling hard on the cold floor of his cell in March 2015. He was rushed to the hospital, where doctors (not Melisandre in the series) resurrected him. with adrenaline injections. He had a "septic poisoning" caused by such large kidney stones that he was "urinated internally". Only after five attempts did the heart function again.
Since then, the prisoner has been fighting in court to convince the judges that he had already served the sentence to which he was sentenced. In April 2018, he filed an appeal with the District Court demanding his immediate release. Schreiber and his lawyer claimed that he was being held illegally in prison, as his sentence had ended three years earlier, at the time his heart stopped and he was pronounced dead.
Breach of the law… grammar
They took advantage of a language gap: In the US criminal system, the life sentence is called a life sentence. That is, the person must remain stuck until the end of life. In the Portuguese language, the adjective “perpetual” leaves no doubt that the sentence should last forever, regardless of any incidents of resurrection along the way. But in English, there is a certain margin of ambiguity in the term.
The Court, however, did not buy the maneuver worthy of Game of Thrones. According to the verdict, the argument was "non-persuasive and without merit," and the very fact that Schreiber had filed for his release already attested to his status as a "living being." Willing to buy the fight, the detainee took the case to a higher court, the Iowa Court of Appeals. It was no good: Judge Amanda Potterfield endorsed the position taken earlier.
Last Wednesday (6), the magistrate determined that the prisoner should remain in jail until a coroner declares that he is dead for good. Yes, Potterfield pointed out that Schreiber cannot claim to be dead to the criminal system and at the same time want to get on with his life normally. The case was reported by The washington Post, and it is not yet known if the prisoner and his lawyer will go ahead with new appeals in court.
More than two decades behind bars, Schreiber was sentenced to life in prison when he was 43 for the murder of 39-year-old John Dale Terry. At the time, investigators concluded that he plotted the murder with Terry's girlfriend before slamming him with a pickaxe handle. A crime as violent as the deaths of Game of Thrones – luckily, US law is stricter than Westeros.