Colorado’s House unanimously called on the governor Friday to grant clemency to a robbery-kidnapping convict who is back in prison after being mistakenly released decades early and reforming his life.
Republicans and Democrats spoke for a resolution that calls Rene Lima-Marin’s continued incarceration and separation from his family “cruel and unusual punishment.” They stood and applauded Lima-Marin’s wife and two sons, who attended the non-binding resolution’s reading.
Lima-Marin, 38, received a 98-year sentence after being convicted in 2000 of multiple robbery, kidnapping and burglary counts. He and another man had robbed two suburban Denver video stores at gunpoint.
A judge issued him back-to-back sentences for the total of 98 years. But a court clerk mistakenly wrote in Lima-Marin’s file that the sentences were to run at the same time. Lima-Marin was released on parole in 2008.
He held a steady job as a window glazer and got married before authorities realized the mistake in January 2014. Police returned him to prison to complete his sentence. He is eligible for parole in 2053.
Prosecutors have insisted Lima-Marin stay behind bars because he knew about the clerical error and never notified authorities.
Lima-Marin’s co-defendant, Michael Clifton, also would have been mistakenly released early, but the error in his file was uncovered after he filed an appeal in his case. Clifton is serving 98 years in prison.
GOP Rep. Dave Williams is the lead sponsor of the legislative resolution. He was joined by Democratic Rep. Joe Salazar, who has clashed with Williams on immigration and sanctuary policy. Salazar said Lima-Marin’s attorneys were preparing paperwork for the state clemency board.
“We appreciate the passion surrounding this case,” said Jacque Montgomery, spokeswoman for Gov. John Hickenlooper. “We thoroughly review all clemency applications and will do the same with anything Mr. Lima-Marin submits to our board.”
The resolution has bipartisan support in Colorado’s Senate.
A suburban Denver judge also is considering a request by Lima-Marin to release him.