Rene Lima-Marin was arrested and and another man were convicted of multiple robbery, kidnapping and burglary charges in 2000 in Aurora, Colorado. Lima-Marin was 20 years old when he was involved in two violent robberies of video stores. He was sentenced to to serve consecutive sentences on eight convictions for a total of 98 years. His family assumed that they would never see him outside of prison again. Yet, in 2008 Lima-Marin was released from prison due to an error. When he was sentenced the Court Clerk mistakenly marked that his sentences on his eight convictions should run at the same time not consecutively as the Judge had ordered. He was released from prison and he spent the next five years rebuilding his life. He got married had a child and was living a normal life.
There have a been other cases in the news lately about clerical errors leading to criminals being released early or never even going to prison. For instance, in Missouri a judge free a man who never reported to prison for his 13 year sentence despite living a normal life paying taxes and working. In that case the individual was never ordered to go to prison due to a clerical error. After the mistake was discovered he was apprehended and taken to prison. The Judge in that case gave him credit for his 13 years of good behavior waiting to go to prison and released him.
This case was different in that Lima-Marin was released 90 years early from his sentence. The prosecutors believe that he knew it was a clerical error and did nothing to bring it to the authorities attention. What is interesting is that his co-defendant was given the exact same sentence and the exact same mistake was made. Yet in his case it was discovered when he filed an appeal from prison and it was corrected before he was released. Lima-Marin had filed an appeal in 2000 but in a rare move, dismissed less than a year later. Prosecutors believe that he was aware of the clerical error and he dismissed his appeal to avoid authorities from finding out about it.
Lima-Marin made it almost five years before being detected. The District Attorney was alerted to the error when in January a former prosecutor that handled the case called to check up on the status of the case. The District Attorney quickly filed a motion with the Court to send Lima-Marin back to prison and the Judge agreed. An attorney for Lima-Marin filed a motion for his release and it was denied as the Judge indicated that Lima-Marin knew that he should serve 98 years and he remained silent about the mistake. Lima-Marin’s family disagrees and stated that he never tried to mask his identity. His family believes that he has punished enough and that his crime free life while he was released is proof he has changed. The family is in the process of considering filing some type of motion to see if they can get him released.