DENVER -- An Aurora man mistakenly released from prison and sent back to serve 90 more years is getting some help from religious leaders.
Tuesday, Together Colorado gathered outside the Governor’s Mansion to pray for Rene Lima-Marin, 35, and his family.
They also will deliver letters to Gov. John Hickenlooper and Attorney General Jon Suthers.
The faith-based group is fighting against unjust sentences and for reform of a state law passed in the legislature in 1985 that doubled the prison time for all felony sentences.
Jasmine Lima-Marin and her two young sons, 4 and 7, gather with others to pray—not inside a church—but outside the Governor’s Mansion.
They ask not only for help from above--but from the governor and attorney general.
“I actually pray every day and my faith has not changed as far as my husband not spending 98 years in prison,” says Jasmine.
Her husband, Rene, in January was suddenly and unexpectedly returned to prison to finish a 98-year sentence.
He robbed two video stores when he was 19, and ordered to serve consecutive sentences. But a court clerk mistakenly told the prison his sentences were to be served all at once.
“People have raped, molested kids, taken lives, and have 15, 20, 25 years. And I made a mistake and tried to steal some money and I am given my entire life in prison?” questions Rene.
So the faith-based group called Together Colorado is standing up for Rene and against unjust sentencing laws.
“People need to have the opportunity to have another chance. Long sentences do not give you a second chance,” says Together Colorado leader Sharon Bridgeforth.
They want to reform the state’s Mielke law which doubled the prison time for all felony sentences.
“You lose hope when you having something like that, to devastate you, but it also devastates the family,” says Bridgeforth.
That family here today prays help is coming their way with a pardon, either through divine intervention or the compassion of our state’s leaders.
“I’d speak to them as far as the person my husband is now, the person he’s become, that putting him back in prison after he’s been rehabilitated, isn’t justice,” says Jasmine.
Lima-Marin won’t be eligible for parole for 40 years. He’ll be 75 then.
The family’s attorney has filed an appeal with the AG’s Office.
But the Appeals Court says it probably won't hear the case until the middle of next year.
His family has an online petition to gather signatures from people in favor of pardoning Rene at Change.org.