Updated Thursday, May 18, 2017, 1:33 a.m. EDT: Rene Lima-Marin’s family was heartbroken Wednesday when, on the day he was to be released from prison per a judge’s order, he was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
CBS Denver reports that Jasmine Lima-Marin surprised her sons Tuesday with the news that their father would be coming home, only to learn Wednesday that he had been placed on an ICE hold.
“We just have to wait,” Jasmine Lima-Marin said.
She told CBS that her husband, Rene Lima-Marin, came to the United States from Cuba when he was 1 year old.
Rene Lima-Marin was on the Colorado Department of Corrections list of undocumented immigrants that is turned over to the federal government annually, CBS reports.
He remained on the ICE hold as of Wednesday evening, and the Denver Post reports that immigration authorities indicated that he could be deported.
From the Post:
The Colorado Department of Corrections said in a statement that Lima-Marin had been moved from the Fremont Correctional Facility in Cañon City to the Denver Reception and Diagnostic Center in preparation for his release, and that a Criminal Justice Information Services review determined he might have an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer.
The statement noted that the department is required to notify ICE of such a possibility and that the detainer was subsequently confirmed.
In an emailed statement Wednesday night, ICE said that Lima-Marin was “ordered removed” by a federal immigration judge in Denver years ago—on Nov. 1, 2000. Earlier Wednesday, after Lima-Marin had been released from his Colorado sentence, ICE officials took him into custody “pending his removal to Cuba.”
According to the Post, the U.S. does not control whether or not Cuba will accept a deportee, so it is possible that Lima-Marin, 38, could spend up to six months in ICE custody and then be put on an order of supervision that would require him to check in regularly with ICE authorities and possibly wear a GPS ankle bracelet.
A Colorado inmate who was sent back to prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence after it was discovered he was mistakenly released was given his freedom by a judge Tuesday.
Rene Lima-Marin was sentenced to 98 years in prison for robbing two video stores in 1998, and CNN reports that he was released improperly from prison in 2008. He was rearrested in 2014 when authorities discovered their mistake.
On Tuesday, in a 165-page decision, Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour Jr. said, “It would be utterly unjust to compel Lima-Marin, at this juncture, to serve the rest of his extremely long sentence.”
Lima-Marin was free for six years, and during that time he found a job, got married, started a family and bought a home, his attorney Kimberly Diego said.
“His case was unique in that sense,” Diego said. “Not all people who are rehabilitated behave that way.”
The judge’s ruling noted that Lima had been called an “asset to society” and an “outstanding citizen” who worked with children and encouraged them to make good decisions.
The mix-up for the father of two boiled down to an error in paperwork that said Lima-Marin’s sentences were to be served concurrently, instead of consecutively.
Based on the paperwork, an attorney, who met with Lima-Marin in prison to discuss an appeal, told him that his sentence had been reduced to 16 years. The attorney advised him to forgo the appeal and instead wait to be released on parole in 2008.
Lima-Marin’s absence from prison wasn’t noticed until Jan. 7, 2014, when a former prosecutor searched for his name on the DOC’s inmate locator website and couldn’t find it. Lima-Marin was arrested by 11 p.m. that same day in front of his family, according to Samour’s report, in order to serve the remainder of his 98-year sentence.
In his ruling, Samour said:
In effect, after its utter lack of care led to Lima-Marin’s premature release and prolonged erroneous liberty, in January 2014, the government decided to compensate for its transgressions by swiftly turning back the clock and returning Lima-Marin to prison—not through the use of a magic wand or the invention of a time machine built out of a DeLorean, which might have transported him back to his life in April 2008, but through the simple issuance of an arrest warrant, which merely put him back in prison, disregarding everything that had transpired between April 2008 and January 2014.
According to CNN, Lima-Marin originally began his sentence in April 2000 after he was convicted of multiple counts of kidnapping, burglary, aggravated robbery and use of a deadly weapon during commission of a crime. It is noted that no shots were fired and no one was injured in any of the robberies that Lima-Marin committed.
The judge called Lima-Marin a model citizen and said he completed five years of parole with flying colors. He added that the government acted with “conscience-shocking” indifference in reincarcerating Lima-Marin in 2014.
“Requiring Lima-Marin to serve the rest of his prison sentence all these years later would be draconian, would deprive him of substantive due process and would perpetrate a manifest injustice. Because the court finds that Lima-Marin is being unlawfully detained, he is ordered released. No other remedy will result in justice in this case,” the judge said.
Diego said that Lima-Marin is currently being held at the Fremont Correctional Facility in Canon City, Colo., and he could be released in the next day or two.
“This is a really uplifting case,” Diego said. “The judge was very thorough, took a lot of time and gave this case a lot of attention. You can tell he wanted to make sure this was perfect. We are thankful that he took the time that he did.”
A spokesperson for the Colorado Attorney General’s office said that it is currently reviewing the case.
Read more at CNN.