There was quite a battle of semantics in an appeals court based out of Iowa regarding a man serving a life sentence in prison. It posed the question of what defines a life sentence when you’re serving one in a prison.
This can certainly go down in history as one of the cleverest appeals ever attempted.
Benjamin Schreiber posed that question of “what defines life in prison” to the appeals court in Iowa.
His interpretation was that he had served exactly that life sentence, plus an additional four years as well. He urged the court that it was his time to be set free since he paid his debt according to his perception.
You might be wondering why he thinks he’d already served life in prison; well, that’s because he actually died in 2015 and was resuscitated.
The prisoner, Benjamin Schreiber, made that argument to an appeals court in Iowa, saying that when he briefly died in 2015, before being revived at a hospital, he completed his obligation to the state. He asked the three-judge panel to let him get on with his life.
While some could laugh off the concept he posed, it is one that conjures some serious thinking.
Schreiber, 66, was sentenced to life without parole after being convicted of murder for killing a man with the handle of an ax in 1996. He has filed several unsuccessful appeals, but in 2018 he argued in court in Wapello County that he had been resuscitated against his will, and that because he had, his “sentence has expired.”
According to the petition to the courts, while an inmate of the Iowa State Penitentiary in March 2015, Schreiber was taken to a hospital after having a series of seizures and also a high fever.
As it turned out, the ailment was caused by some large kidney stones which had eventually caused septic poisoning.
During his stay at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, a staff member called Schreiber’s brother after he fell unconscious. Schreiber’s brother had allegedly told the hospital staff that they’re more than welcome to administer any pain-relieving related medicines, but “otherwise you are to let him pass.”
Schreiber said he was resuscitated regardless of his brother’s instructions; this is also in conjunction with his own “do-not-resuscitate” order on file with the Iowa Department of Corrections.
The petitioned appeal has an almost Half-hangit Maggie quality to it; which if you’re unfamiliar with the story of Half-hangit Maggie, she was a woman named Margaret Dickson from Edinburgh, Scotland who was sentenced to a death by hanging for concealing a pregnancy and disposing of her baby’s body after the child passed away back in 1721.
Well, Margaret Dickson certainly did the gallows dance and was placed into a coffin immediately thereafter for burial 6 miles away.
The bumpy ride via the cobbled streets to the burial site while in her coffin had actually had somehow resuscitated the woman and the courts later deemed that she did in fact serve her sentence and was set free.
However, the appeals court didn’t think the argument made by Schreiber carried any weight to it.
The judges rejected his argument this week, ruling that a lower court had been right to dismiss his petition. Judge Amanda Potterfield detailed the opinion of the court:
“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.”
Potterfield ruling detailed that because “life” isn’t defined by the state’s code, the judges had given the term “its plain meaning”. They had come to the conclusion that Schreiber must spend the rest of his natural life incarcerated, regardless of whether he had been revived.
The judge went on further to explain the rationale to their decision, summing it up nicely with:
“We do not find his argument persuasive.”
She also added that the judges found it unlikely the Legislature would have wanted “to set criminal defendants free whenever medical procedures during their incarceration led to their resuscitation by medical professionals.”
No matter how you feel about the inmate or the appeal, you can’t deny that it was quite a “Hail Mary” kind of move and will possibly inspire many more appeals like it in other states.
He probably would have had a shot in North Carolina.
That’s where, in a nod to putting American citizens in greater danger in the name of political correctness, the state has released more than 500 criminals that are in the country illegally because of their so-called “sanctuary status”, according to federal immigration officials.
Newly released data by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency reveals the degree to which sanctuary cities and counties in North Carolina are protecting criminal aliens from arrest and deportation.
“Across North Carolina, local authorities refused to honor more than 500 detainers for foreign nationals during Fiscal Year 2019,” ICE officials wrotein a statement. “All of these detainer refusals are of persons criminally arrested by a law enforcement agency for a criminal offense beyond their violation of federal immigration law.”
Close to 80 percent of criminal undocumented immigrants freed back into American communities by sanctuary jurisdictions go on to commit more crimes, an ICE official confirmed in congressional testimony.
“When aliens walk out the front of the jail that could have been handed over to [ICE] for removal proceedings, they have the opportunity to commit additional crimes,” ICE official Timothy Robbins said. “What we’ve seen, and depending on the report you look at, anywhere from 40 to 80 percent of those who have committed crimes will re-offend.”
In a recent case, officials in Buncombe County, North Carolina released a child molester from prison instead of handing him over to ICE for deportation.
North Carolina suffers from a disproportionately high rate of sex crimes committed by illegal aliens.
Research by North Carolinians For Immigration Reform and Enforcement (NCFIRE) stated that in the last one and a half years, more than 330 immigrants, not in the country legally have been charged with nearly 1,200 child sex crimes in North Carolina.
We knew this was coming. Back in August, we detailed what was happening in the Tarheel state.
Democratic Governor Roy Cooper of North Carolina has picked which side of the national argument he stands on regarding cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)- and it’s not on the side of law enforcement or law-abiding citizens.
Today, ICE released more examples of foreign nationals with active ICE detainers who have been detained for serious criminal offenses in North Carolina’s Wake County. https://t.co/xJMuekoKzF pic.twitter.com/lMNeonGIhF
— ICE (@ICEgov) November 1, 2019
In August, Cooper vetoed a bill (House Bill-HB 370) that would require state and local law enforcement to cooperate with immigration and customs enforcement.
This bill had originally passed the North Carolina House of Representatives along party lines – and previously through the Senate back in June of this year. Cooper wasted no time to veto the legislation, less than 24 hours after its passage.
According to NewsObserver.com Cooper justified his veto releasing the following statement:
“This legislation is simply about scoring partisan political points and using fear to divide North Carolina, as the former top law enforcement officer of our state, I know that current law allows the state to jail and prosecute dangerous criminals regardless of immigration status. This bill, in addition to being unconstitutional, weakens law enforcement in North Carolina by mandating sheriffs to do the job of federal agents, using local resources that could hurt their ability to protect their counties.”
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Cooper went on to further argue against the legislation stating that there was a portion of the bill that required the Sheriff to cooperate with ICE, and failure to do so could result in the removal of the sheriff from their elected position.l
According to CNN, the legislation: “would have required authorities to determine whether prisoners are legal US residents, and if they were unable to do so, to inquire about their residency status with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the Department of Homeland Security and flag to the agencies if someone was in the country illegally.
Authorities also would have been required to allow ICE or DHS officials to interview prisoners upon request and detain prisoners if asked to do so by federal authorities until they could be transferred.”
Several news outlets have attributed the legislation as political posturing and also part of an agenda that is being forced onto states by the Trump administration. However, Republicans in North Carolina have come out in strong support for the legislations, stating that it is a way to protect the law-abiding citizens on the state.
As reported by the Raleigh News & Observer, North Carolina Republican State Senator Chuck Edwards responded to the Democratic Governor’s veto, stating:
“Law-enforcement officers have a sworn responsibility to protect their citizens — and that includes cooperating with federal authorities. Unlike Governor Cooper, who prefers to pander to his far-left supporters, we will protect North Carolinians and plan to override his irresponsible veto.”
Sources say that the Republicans created this legislation in direct response to the election, in the past year, of several new sheriffs in largely liberal counties.
It is reported those newly elected sheriffs ran their campaigns based on the promise of not continuing the cooperative relationship with ICE and detaining those not in America legally who have been arrested for committing crimes.
One sheriff in particular, Garry McFadden of Mecklenburg County North Carolina, has been in the national spotlight for his part in releasing two people from Honduras without holding them under the ICE detainer. One of the men who were released, Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, is reportedly a fugitive from justice in Honduras and had been arrested on charges of child rape in the United States.
As Law Enforcement Today reported early in the week, McFadden stands by his campaign promise to not cooperate with ICE, nor does he have any intention of changing his mind.
While McFadden applauds the governor’s decision to veto the bill, the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association has a different view. The association has supported the legislation through the house and senate, and released a brief statement Wednesday saying they “regret” the governor’s actions.
Multiple news outlets have reported that North Carolina is just one in a growing number of states whose governors or lead law enforcement officers have ended their cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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