Judge orders re-release of man mistakenly set free from prison decades early

Denver inmate Rene Lima-Marin, who returned to prison three years ago after mistakenly being released decades early from a 98-year sentence, was ordered released from prison Tuesday by a Denver judge.

In ordering Lima-Marin’s release, Chief Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour approved a writ of habeas corpus, ruling that requiring him to “serve the rest of his prison sentence all these years later would be draconian, would deprive him of substantive due process, and would perpetrate a manifest injustice.”

Lima-Marin in 2000 was sentenced to 98 years in prison for convictions related to two video store robberies he committed as a teenager in 1998.

He was supposed to serve his sentences consecutively, but due to a clerical error was mistakenly released on parole in 2008 after serving the sentences concurrently.

After his release, Lima-Marin sought employment, married his wife and fathered two children.

But in 2014, Lima-Marin’s former prosecutor noticed the error and soon reinstated the sentence.

Lima-Marin turned himself back in and has been back in prison ever since. He is now being held in the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City.

During the 2017 legislative session, Reps. Joe Salazar, a Democrat from Thornton, and Republican Dave Williams from Colorado Springs found common ground in a resolution calling on Gov. John Hickenlooper to grant clemency to Lima-Marin.

Related: Battling lawmakers unite to seek clemency for inmate

Describing the inmate as a model prisoner and parolee, the resolution begged for a second chance for Lima Marin. The measure found unanimous, bipartisan support in the Colorado House.

“Lima-Marin is the man who found triumph after experiencing defeat,” said Salazar.

Lima-Marin’s next parole hearing wasn’t scheduled until 2053. It is not yet known exactly when he is scheduled for release.


Photo courtesy of Jasmine Lima-Marin