Immigration appeals board upholds release of Rene Lima-Marin after years of legal battles

AURORA, Colo. -- An immigration appeals board ordered the release of Rene Lima-Marin -- the man mistakenly let out of prison decades early, rearrested and eventually pardoned -- on Monday.

The Board of Immigration Appeals, part of the Department of Justice, dismissed an appeal from the Department of Homeland Security, according to Elinoff Legal, which represents Lima-Marin.

With that decision, an immigration judge’s ruling to terminate Lima-Marin's case will stand.

He was released from a Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Aurora on Monday afternoon, the law office said.

In October, the federal immigration judge ordered the release Lima-Marin and dropped the deportation proceedings against him.

That was the case Homeland Security appealed weeks later.

The once-convicted felon was detained by ICE in May after a judge ordered his release from prison, part of a complicated legal drama that has been ongoing for years.

The Cuban-born man robbed two video stores when he was 19 and sentenced to spend decades in prison.

A clerical error resulted in him being mistakenly released from prison in 2008 after only a few years.

During his release, he got married, had children and found a steady job.

When his former prosecutor happened to check on his whereabouts in 2014, the state realized Lima-Marin had been let out by mistake.

His sentence was reinstated and he was sent back to prison.

A judge ordered Lima-Marin be fully released from a state prison in May.

When ICE detained Lima-Marin after his release, state lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a resolution asking Gov. John Hickenlooper to set Lima-Marin free.

Hickenlooper issued a pardon later that month and acknowledged the state's mistake, but Lima-Marin remained in ICE custody.

The pardon took away Lima-Marin’s felony conviction, which lawmakers said was the main legal basis for his ICE detainer.

In August, attorneys for Lima-Marin said he had won the motion to reopen his immigration case and withdraw his previous order of removal, leading to the decision that was being appealed.