Rene Lima-Marin, 35, served 10 years of what he thought was a 16 year sentence and was released in 2008 — 90 years too soon, according to the court that made the error.
Fifteen years ago, Lima-Marin of Aurora Colorado was 19 years old when he robbed two video stores with what he claims was an unloaded rifle.
After his release, he turned his life around, became gainfully employed, got married and had children. But his family’s world was turned upside down when he was reincarcerated in January. He is not eligible for release until 2054— when he is 75 years old.
Back behind bars, Lima-Marin told Fox31 that, this time, it’s so much harder.
“It’s that every day, happy, white-picket-fence type of life,” says Lima-Marin, about the world he created with a wife and two kids after leaving prison nearly six years ago.
“What makes this that much harder, is the fact I constantly have them right here,” as he points to his head.
He says his appeals lawyer told him 13 years earlier that his sentence was just 16 years.
“She was like, in this appeals process, the best thing that could have possibly happened to you was that everything would be ran concurrent and you would have 16 years. And that’s what you have right now. He says she told him, in her advice, to withdraw his appeal for a reduced sentence.
But her information was wrong—as was the court file sent to the Department of Corrections stating his sentences should run all at once, instead of back-to-back.
“I would have never had a wife. I would have never had children. I would have never bought a house. I would have never done any of those things. But I did those because you let me out. And now they are being punished for something they had absolutely nothing to do with,” he says about his family.
It’s a punishment he says is excessive.
“People have raped, molested kids, taken lives and 15, 20, 25 years. And I made a mistake and tried to steal some money and I am given my entire life in prison? It just doesn’t make sense,” he says.
According to the Colorado State Public Defender, Lima-Marin would have likely received a 20 to 30 year sentence if his case had been prosecuted today.
Under a now defunct program called COP (chronic offender program), he was much more aggressively prosecuted.
Three counts of armed robbery got him 10 years each for a total of 30 years. It’s a crime that normally carries a term of just four to 16 years.
The convictions also included three counts of kidnapping, each carrying 16 years.
Rich Orman, Senior Deputy DA with the 18th Judicial District says Lima-Marin was charged with kidnapping because he moved three people from the front of the store to the back.
He also got 10 years each for two counts of burglary.
“I did something wrong. I acknowledge the fact I did something wrong. I take responsibility for the fact I did something wrong. But I also believe I completed the punishment, the just punishment for the crime,” he says.
“And not only for me, because I know that seems selfish, because it hurts me. But it hurts them as well,” he says with tears in his eyes.
Watch Fox31 news report below:
As previously reported by NewsOne, this kind of negligent court error is more common than one might think.
After he was convicted of armed robbery in 2000, Cornealious Anderson was sentenced to 13 years behind bars and told to await instructions on when and where to report to prison. But those instructions never came.
Not until last year did the Missouri Department of Corrections discover the clerical error that kept him free.
“They sent a SWAT team to his house,” said Anderson’s attorney, Patrick Megaro. “He was getting his 3-year-old daughter breakfast, and these men with automatic weapons bang on his door.”
Anderson was rereleased from prison in May.
“You’ve been a good father. You’ve been a good husband. You’ve been a good taxpaying citizen of the state of Missouri,” said Judge Terry Lynn Brown.
“That leads me to believe that you are a good man and a changed man.”