Friday Musing

Benjamin Schreiber Aman of Iowa, who was serving a life sentence for murder, claimed his sentence was fulfilled during his short-lived death after he was rushed from the Iowa State Penitentiary in 2015 to the hospital and his heart was restarted five times. The Iowa Court of Appeals rejected the claims, stating “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.”

I’m sure Aman thought his argument was pretty clever. Just imagine the benefits if he was successful: he’d be released from prison; he could make a claim against his own life insurance policy to collect the proceeds; he wouldn’t have to file another tax return or pay taxes and, if he didn’t like his wife, he would have fulfilled his “until death do us part” vow.

Unfortunately, most clever ideas have equally clever repercussions.  Although he might have had a claim for life insurance proceeds, they would have been paid to his beneficiary (since he was dead), most likely his wife or (in community property States) she would have inherited the proceeds anyway. And about that vow – it would apply to her also so she wouldn’t have to share. So, he would essentially be a broke, unemployable, single, dead-man-walking.  I think the judge should have granted his motion, especially if he was an organ donor!