DENVER — Friday, May 19, 2017 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today pardoned Rene-Lima Marin of criminal convictions.
“The case of Rene Lima-Marin presents an extraordinary set of facts. His family has endured an emotional rollercoaster over the past months and years that is difficult to imagine. Mr. Lima-Marin committed serious crimes when he was much younger, and I believe he was justly convicted and punished for those crimes. To the extent rehabilitation is a goal of imprisonment, Mr. Lima-Marin appears to have achieved it.
The District Court judge who recently reviewed this case noted that Mr. Lima-Marin has served the functional equivalent of a 32-year sentence in the Department of Corrections. Mr. Lima-Marin was a model prisoner for 13 years. He obtained his GED and earned certifications in computer programming and braille transcription. When he was released on parole in 2008 due to a clerical error, he had an exemplary record, satisfying every condition of parole.
Mr. Lima-Marin led a law-abiding life. He married and raised a family, bought a home, gave back to the community, spoke to teenagers and young adults about making good choices in life, and learned a trade to support his family. By all accounts, he became a productive, respected, well-liked, and valued member of his community. Six years after leaving prison, the prosecutor in the case discovered the error that led to Mr. Lima-Marin’s early release. He was re-arrested, taken away from his family and community, and returned to prison to carry out the remainder of his lengthy sentence. In 2016, he filed a petition for habeas corpus, seeking his immediate release from prison.
On May 16, 2017, Chief Judge Carlos Samour of the Eighteenth Judicial District granted Mr. Lima-Marin’s petition for habeas corpus and ordered his release from the Department of Corrections. After cataloguing Mr. Lima-Marin’s exemplary post-conviction record, Chief Judge Samour concluded that it would be ‘draconian’ and ‘would perpetrate a manifest injustice’ to force him to serve the remainder of his lengthy sentence after a government error allowed him to experience six years of freedom.
The legislative branch also supported Mr. Lima-Marin’s pursuit of justice. In a unanimous, bipartisan Joint Resolution, the Colorado General Assembly urged me to grant Mr. Lima-Marin clemency. Among other things, they noted, ‘the criminal justice system claims to not only be about upholding justice but about reforming offenders, which is exactly what Lima-Marin's initial incarceration achieved as evidenced by the life he led during incarceration and in the years following his release.’
Given the extraordinary circumstances of this case and Mr. Lima-Marin’s demonstrated ability to live successfully in the community, I agree that it would be unjust for Mr. Lima-Marin to suffer further consequences for his convictions.
That’s why I’m issuing a pardon. I hope this will demonstrate the faith the State of Colorado has in Mr. Lima-Marin’s potential to live as a law-abiding, productive member of our community.”