Dad Who Was Released from Prison 90 Years Too Early Says He Paid His Debt

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

accidents, crime, in the news, law


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nonmember avatar sarah

BUT he contacted police repeatedly to let them know a mistake had been made and he deserved to be locked up....that is not even what the stir said in their other stories on that case and cant find any other people saying it now

nonmember avatar LainieDG

The one who never went did actively try to let people know a mistake had been made. However the one who served 8 years knew the other guy he was convicted with had the same mistake on his paperwork which was caught by a court aide when his appeal was being processed. Lima-Marin then ceased the appeal he had made so that no further attention was given to his paperwork with the incorrect sentence information. Basically two very different situations and it seems, more importantly, two very different men.


This is scary letting criminals out of jail by accident it has to be a inside job.I don't mind them accidentally getting out of jail but they better not come close to me because I'm going to beat the crap out of here.

lovem... lovemyson1224

This guy tried to hide the fact that a mistake was made. He even withdrew his appeals while still in prison once he realized he was going to mistakenly get released early. The other gentleman advised the court system several times via appeals that he was not in prison as he was supposed to be. They are two completely different situations.

Siren... SirenaRobinson

They're not all that different, actually, from a legal standpoint. In this case, the court made an error, transmitted incorrect information to the prison. This man was notified by the prison that he was eligible for parole, applied for parole, was granted parole, and served five years of parole. The odd thing here is that he was ordered to serve consecutive sentences instead of concurrent ones, which is highly unusual. Legally, it doesn't matter whether or not they knew. In one case, the prison made a mistake and didn't lock someone up. In the other, the court made a mistake and incorrectly reported sentencing. But legally, this man actually has more of a leg to stand on, regardless of whether or not he knew the sentence was wrong. And if you look for the original article, in the six years he was out he got a job, got married, had a kid, started coaching football, and got into church. In that sense, the cases are very similar.

lovem... lovemyson1224

The first guy was locked up he got released while his appeal was pending and was never ordered back when his appeals were denied. This man was released, albeit no fault of his, incorrectly and knew there was an issue prior to his release and did not speak up. While I can understand pretty much no one in his situation would go speak up and point out the mistake, it doesn't change the fact that the first man was released pending appeal and spoke up several times via new appeals. This man didn't ever contact anyone.

the4m... the4mutts

Ummm.... 13yrs compared to 98.... I think we can see, by that alone, which one deserved to be in there longer. Not to mention that one TRIED to right the wrong.

Are you not concerned that they let a violent offender out early on ACCIDENT? What if they let a pervert out next? A rapist? A child molester? They don't give you 98 years for stealing a pack of gum.

Kattey Kattey

98 years was overkill in the first place. The man is clearly rehabilitated. He is a contributing member to society.

Kathleen Holland

Are you kidding me!?!?
So, you thing that 98 years is a just punishment for a 19 year old who committed armed which nobody was hurt? A teenager being sentenced to die in prison for that crime is obviously the real mistake here. And during the 10 years he was in prison & the 6 years he was out of prison no further crime.
He served his time for the crime & he is obviously no danger to society. Let that man go.

Carol Schmidt

I think your justice system stinks as bad as ours here in Canada! COME ON ! 98 years? There is something VERY wrong with either your justice system or the judge!

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