A Colorado man released 88 years early from a 98-year prison sentence for robbery is pleading for his freedom for a second time after being returned to jail.
Rene Lima-Marin, 38, from Aurora, says he is a reformed man, having become a husband and father as well as getting a job and says returning him to complete his sentence would be unfair. A judge is considering his request.
Lima-Marin robbed two video stores at gunpoint in 1998 and in 2000 was handed back-to-back sentences totalling 98 years, which the judge said must run consecutively.
However in a mix-up, a clerk instead wrote "concurrently" so in 2008 he was released and told he would serve five more years on probation. Lima-Marin got a job as a window glazier, then married, adopted his wife's son and became a father.
In 2014, Colorado authorities realised their error and sent Lima-Marin back to prison. He is now appealing that decision in a habeas corpus writ at Denver's Arapahoe County Court. However First Assistant Attorney General James Quinn told court Lima-Marin should not be released because of a bureaucratic error which he knew about but did not tell authorities.
Lima-Marin told the court he should be freed because of his family. "I've been taken away from them and all they have is me and my wife," he told court, reported the Independent. "And this just doesn't make sense to me. I didn't do anything worth 98 years."
Quoted by Sky News, Lima-Marin continued: "I'm supposed to be the head of the household, the person who's supposed to guide and lead them ... and I've been taken away from them. I was stupid, and a dumb kid who made a mistake." A Facebook appeal started by wife Jasmine calling for Lima-Maris's release has attracted over 280,000 signatures.
Judge Carlos Samour is weighing up the case, until which time Lima-Maris must remain behind bars. "I'm not going to give you a time frame because I want to take my time with it," said Judge Samour.