A Colorado man was told by a judge on Tuesday that he is once again a free man. A mix-up had resulted in his freedom from incarceration for six years and he used that time well.
Rene Lima-Marin, 38, was sentenced to 98 years in prison for robbing two video stores in 1998. He was released, improperly, in 2008 according to CNN. He was rearrested in 2014, when authorities realized they had made a mistake. During his unexpected break from prison, Lima-Marin made himself a new life. In the six years he was free, he became employed, got married and started a family. He even purchased a house.
"His case was unique in that sense," said his attorney Kimberly Diego. "Not all people who are rehabilitated behave that way."
In a recent decision, Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr. stated that "it would be utterly unjust to compel Lima-Marin, at this juncture, to serve the rest of his extremely long sentence." The judge called Lima-Marin an "asset to society" and an "outstanding citizen" who worked with young people.
Lima-Marin’s wife, Jasmine, was eating lunch in her car at work when she heard the good news about her husband’s re-release.
“I just rolled up my windows in the car and started screaming,” Jasmine told the Denver Post. “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.”
His wrongful release in 2008 was due to an error in paperwork that said Lima-Miran's sentences were to be served concurrently, instead of consecutively according to CNN. His absence from prison wasn't noticed until 2014 when a former prosecutor searched for his name on the DOC's inmate locator website.
"In effect, after its utter lack of care led to Lima-Marin's premature release and prolonged erroneous liberty, in January 2014 the government decided to compensate for its transgressions by swiftly turning back the clock and returning Lima-Marin to prison -- not through the use of a magic wand or the invention of a time machine built out of a DeLorean, which might have transported him back to his life in April 2008, but through the simple issuance of an arrest warrant, which merely put him back in prison, disregarding everything that had transpired between April 2008 and January 2014," said Samour.
Lima-Marin was first incarcerated in April 2000 after being found guilty of multiple counts of kidnapping, burglary, aggravated robbery, and use of a deadly weapon during commission of a crime. However, no one was injured in the robberies and no shots were fired.