A judge has made a ruling in a case regarding a Colorado man who was mistakenly released early from prison and was then rearrested. He has ordered that the man be set free.
According to CNN, Rene Lima-Marin began a 98-year prison term back in April of 2000 after robbing two video stores in 1998. He had been found guilty of multiple counts of kidnapping, burglary, aggravated robbery, and use of a deadly weapon during commission of a crime (although Lima-Marin had a gun during the robberies, no one was injured).
Lima-Marin was supposed to serve the sentences for his crimes consecutively. According to Nolo, when sentences run consecutively, it means that the defendant must serve the sentence for one crime before they can begin serving the sentence for another crime. However, a mix-up in paperwork said that Lima-Marin's sentences were to be served concurrently, meaning that he could serve all of his sentences at the same time.
An attorney met with Lima-Marin and, based on the content of the paperwork, told him that his sentence had been reduced to 16 years. Lima-Marin was then released on parole in 2008.
During the next six years, Lima-Marin did not return to a life of crime. According to The Denver Post, Lima-Marin worked through a series of low-wage jobs before becoming a glazier. He married a woman named Jasmine, and the couple had two children together. In addition, CNN reports that Lima-Marin was able to purchase a home.
"His case was unique in that sense," said Lima-Marin's attorney, Kimberly Diego, of Lima-Marin's accomplishments after being released from prison, reports CNN. "Not all people who are rehabilitated behave that way."
Lima-Marin's life, however, was interrupted in January 2014, when a former prosecutor searched for his name in the Department of Corrections' inmate locator and discovered that Lima-Marin's name did not show up. He was rearrested later that same day in front of his family.
On May 16, Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr. ordered Lima-Marin's release in a 165-page decision. The decision cited Lima-Marin's progress at building a life over the past five years.
"Requiring Lima-Marin 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," part of the decision read. "Because the Court finds that Lima-Marin is being unlawfully detained, he is ordered released. No other remedy will result in justice in this case."
The judge's decision was met with excitement by Lima-Marin's family. According to The Denver Post, his wife was eating lunch in her car when she was informed of the judge's decision.
"I just rolled up my windows in the car and started screaming," she said. "My screaming turned into laughter and, 'Thank you, God!' The first person I called to tell was his mom, and we were both crying on the phone and pretty much screaming."
According to CNN, the court is required to send the judge's order to the Department of Corrections before Lima-Marin's release, which could occur within the next two days. The decision regarding Lima-Marin's case is also currently being reviewed by the Colorado Attorney General's office.