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Mistakenly released inmate won’t have to serve remaining 90 years, judge rules

Criminal Justice

An inmate mistakenly released from prison in 2008 won’t have to serve the rest of his 98-year sentence, a Colorado judge has ruled.

Chief District Judge Carlos Samour Jr. of Arapahoe County ruled Tuesday that it would be “draconian” and a “manifest injustice” to require Rene Lima-Marin to remain in prison, report the Denver Post and the Aurora Sentinel. The Marshall Project covered Lima-Marin’s case in this April 2015 article.

Samour ruled that keeping Lima-Marin in prison violates his right to due process “based on the unique and exceptional circumstances involved in this case.”

Lima-Marin was sentenced in 2000 to 98 years in prison for two video store robberies he committed at age 19. He was mistakenly paroled in 2008 because a clerk listed his sentences as running concurrently, rather than consecutively.

Over the next five years and eight months, Lima-Marin married, became a father, became active in his church, and secured a job installing glass windows in skyscrapers. He was sent back to prison in 2014 when the mistaken release was discovered.

Prosecutors were able to secure the long sentence because a gun was used – Lima-Marin said it wasn’t loaded – and the crime was broken down into a series of actions, including kidnapping, a charge based on the movement of employees from one room to another.

The legislature had urged Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper to grant clemency to Lima-Marin. The governor’s office said it will review how the court decision affects the pending clemency application.

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