What is going on with the prison system and "clerical mistakes" that are keeping convicted criminals from serving jail time? This is just one of several stories we've heard this week in which men have been let off too early for crimes they committed and then insisted they deserve to be released for good.
Rene Lima-Marin was convicted in 2000 to 98 years in prison on multiple violent armed robbery, kidnapping, and burglary charges. The Colorado man had a total of 8 convictions, including one for an assault in which he and another man ordered store workers into a backroom by gunpoint and demanded that one worker give them money from a safe.
But because of a clerical error, Lima-Marin only served 8 years and was released in 2008. The law caught up with him, as it usually does, and the father of 2 was sent back to prison -- despite his family's protests that he has "paid his debt to society" and deserves to be free.
This man would have probably been able to get away with staying out of prison, if not for a recent crackdown on criminal files to determine whether prisoners were serving the right sentences. It's a lot more difficult to empathize with Lima-Marin than with, say, Cornealius 'Mike' Anderson because the way they reportedly handled the errors is so different.
Anderson was sentenced to 13 years in prison 20 years ago, but was never sent because of an error. BUT he contacted police repeatedly to let them know a mistake had been made and he deserved to be locked up. When they still wouldn't pick him up, the father of 4 made it his business to turn his life around, and a judge agreed to throw out his sentence precisely because he made those changes.
As far as we know, Lima-Marin waited for police to come to him. Come on, he must have realized he was being let off 90 years too early -- what did he suspect was behind his sudden good fortune? It's totally possible he has since spent the last 6 years doing good deeds and making up for his past mistakes, but we haven't heard anything to prove this.
Unless something really interesting surfaces to convince a judge to rethink his sentence, it seems like Lima-Marin is going to have to serve another 90 years for his crimes.
Do you think this man should be let off because of the clerical error or should he serve his full prison sentence?
Image via Kate Ter Haar/Flickr