In 1998, 19 year old Rene Lima Marin was sentenced to 98 years in prison for a pair of video store robberies in Aurora. The lengthy sentence was due to multiple charges of robbery, burglary and kidnapping. The judge ordered the sentences to be served consecutively, but a clerical mistake meant that the records showed he was to serve them concurrently. So, as a result he was released after 10 years and served 5 years on parole.
During the time he was free, he turned his life around, found a job, got married and became a father. But 4 years ago, officials discovered the error and he was sent back for additional 90 years in prison. Currently is not eligible for parole until 2054, when he would be 75 years old.
In the last 4 years while he’s been in prison a coalition of faith organizations, social and racial justice organizations and members of the community have rallied together to call for Lima Marin’s release. The state supreme court heard the case last year, but declined to rule, instead they sent it back to Arapahoe County District Court where this morning at 9, a judge will make a decision in the case. Ahead of that, supporters of Lima Marin and his family gathered outside the courthouse to call for clemency. Sharon Bridgforth with Together Colorado, one of the groups supporting the Lima Marin family, says that this is an example of a broken criminal justice system.
“You have to go back to the war on drugs when they started mandatory minimums and that kind of thing and it takes everything out of the judges hands. We believe that judges are sitting there for a reason and they should be able to hand out the appropriate amount of punishments, not looking at mandatory minimums….we are being inhumane in this system. People should be able to spend their time and then when they get out they get to start again.”
Lima Marin’s co defendant in the 1998 trial is currently serving his 98 year sentence.