Colorado Inmate is Finally Free

Elias Hubbard
May 20, 2017

Lima-Marin was sentenced to 98 years in prison. This week a judge ordered him to be released again, saying it would be "draconian" to keep him in prison.

Colorado man ordered released from prison after being mistakenly set free a decade ago and then put back behind bars is now being held by federal immigration authorities and facing possible deportation to Cuba.

Rene Lima-Marin, 38, was released to the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Denver on Wednesday, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections. Lima-Marin was a Cuban immigrant who came to the United States with his parents as a toddler during the 1980 Mariel boatlift. He remains in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials "pending his removal to Cuba" - though deportation isn't necessarily a sure thing.

Lima-Marin's history with the law began in 2000 when he was sentenced to two prison terms totaling 98 years for a pair of robberies he committed when he was a teenager. He was released, improperly, in 2008. Lima-Marin was mistakenly released on parole in 2008, then held a steady job, got married and had son with his wife.

Lima-Marin came to the US with his parents in 1980, when he was about 2 years old, in the Mariel boatlift, in which about 125,000 Cubans were transported to Florida.

The legal battle ended Tuesday when Chief Arapahoe County District Judge Carlos Samour Jr. issued a 165-page ruling that ordered for Lima-Marin's release. He is released from prison but arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Diego added that she was scrambling to find him an immigration attorney.

According to ICE, a judge ordered that Lima-Marin be removed from the country in 2000 while he was in prison.

"At the end of the day, the Court concludes that it would be utterly unjust to compel Lima-Marin, at this juncture, to serve the rest of his extremely long sentence", Samour wrote in his court order.

The so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy sent back Cubans intercepted at sea but gave those who reached land an automatic path to legal residency.

Seventeen have been deported since October 2016, and 123 have been deported since October 2014, less than three months before President Barack Obama announced the beginning of normalization of relations with Cuba. "The family has shown awesome strength and we hope this is a temporary stop on his way to being reunited with his family".

Lima-Marin was supposed to serve the sentences for his crimes consecutively.

Samour also pointed out that Lima-Marin, who did not know in 2008 that he was released by accident, had already completed parole and started a family before authorities returned him to prison.

Instead, he walked into the long, tangled arms of federal immigration law and is now in the custody of agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. We're obviously all completely devastated by the news but working hard to see what there is to be done.

Lima-Marin's attorney Kimberly Diego says Lima-Marin came to the USA from Cuba at the age of 2 during the 1980 Mariel boatlift.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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