DENVER -- Colorado's highest court takes up the case of an Aurora man who was mistakenly released from prison, turned his life around, then sent back for 90 more years.
After the Arapahoe County court realized its mistake on Jan. 7, 2014, it had police re-arrest Rene Lima-Marin.
His case has spurred a movement by his family, friends and church to free the now 37-year-old. And now, it may actually happen.
"I have a strong, strong belief the Lord is going to work this out, one way or the other," said Lima-Marin.
But in a prison interview in May of last year, Lima-Marin said he didn't know when.
"We are here today to hear the case of Rene Lima-Marin versus the people," said the State Supreme Court Chief Justice Nancy Rice.
But a decision by the state's highest court could mean freedom for the 37-year-old father of two.
"I'm asking this court to right a wrong and to grant him the relief we seek," said Lima-Marin’s attorney, Patrick Megaro.
He asks the justices to release Lima-Marin from prison because it's cruel and unusual punishment to re-imprison him after he completed 10 years behind bars and five years parole.
He says Lima-Marin thought he had completed his full sentence of 16 years, (with time reduced for good behavior).
Lima-Marin said in an interview in May 2014 that his appeal lawyer told him he no longer had 98 years.
He says she said, “‘You basically are given 16 years, which is what we’ve been fighting for anyway. The best thing that could have happened to you, was that everything run concurrent and have 16 years. That’s what we have right now. I have paperwork here to withdraw your appeal and that’s it,’” said Lima-Marin.
Megaro also says the father of two could have fled the country if he thought he was released by accident. But he didn’t. He says put in the same community.
"To give a person the opportunity to taste freedom, to get married, have children, do all these things, and then to rip that all away in the blink of an eye and say, 'That was our error. You and all your dependents are going to suffer for it," Megaro told the court.
Lima-Marin says thinking of his family is the worst part.
"Not only for me, because that seems somewhat selfish because it hurts me. But it hurts them as well," he says through tears.
"There are sympathetic, emotional reasons why this case bothers all of us. There's no question this is an awful position to be in, but this court has to make decisions based on law," said Katharine Gillespie with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
She says it's the governor who should address a situation like this.
"The court is struggling with a lot of issues, one is how to right a wrong and who should right the wrong, the court or the governor," said Megaro
"Today, they are expecting daddy to be home soon. I just keeping faith that's going to happen," says Lima-Marin’s wife, Jasmine.
A decision is likely months away.
The court could release Lima-Marin, send his case back to a lower court, or give him 6 years credit for his time out of prison.
That credit drops his sentence to 82 more years--meaning he'd be 111.