Aurora man mistakenly freed from prison asks judge to reduce 98-year sentence

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CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- An Aurora man mistakenly released from prison decades early and then reimprisoned to finish out his 98-year sentence appeared in Arapahoe County Court on Wednesday.

A hearing for a writ of habeas corpus meant Rene Lima-Marin might go free.

It was a day his family has been praying for since he went back to prison on Jan. 7, 2014. They had hoped they would get to spend Christmas together. But the wait continues.

They rallied outside the Arapahoe County Courthouse, as their hopes and dreams sat inside a courtroom.

Lima-Marin’s attorney, Jaime Halscott, argued his client should be released from prison.

"We argued the government is holding him illegally because their conduct is what put him in the place that he is," said Halscott, who flew in from Orlando, Fl., to argue the case.

Lima-Marin, 38, was mistakenly released in 2008 after serving 10 years for robbery. When the district attorney's office caught the mistake in January 2014, they hauled him back to prison to finish the sentence.

But he had already led a productive life, gotten married and had children.

"I’ve been taken away from them and all they have is me and my wife. And this just doesn't make sense to me. I didn't do anything worth 98 years," Lima-Marin testified.

The state argued a clerical mistake should not void his sentence -- especially because Lima-Marin knew he was getting out early and didn't say anything.

But Lima-Marin denies it, saying his appeals attorney told him his sentence was 16 years.

"This professional in this field was appointed to me, is telling me I have 16 years, so who am I to question this professional appointed to me to assist me in this process?" Lima-Marin said.

"Every day I get asked, ‘When is daddy coming home?' I tell them we just got to keep praying, he’s going to come home. We will get to be a family again," said his wife, Jasmine Lima-Marin.

But that didn't happen Wednesday.

Jasmine Lima-Marin said the family had hoped to be walking out of the courthouse together Wednesday. But she said she knows it will eventually happen.

Lima-Marin robbed two video stores in 1998 when he was 19 years old. No one was injured.

He was supposed to serve his sentences consecutively not concurrently.

Judge Carlos Samour Jr. will review all the information before he issues an order. He didn't give a time frame on when that would happen.