Watch CBS News

Man Released From Jail Early Awaits Immigration Judge's Decision

By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4) - A judge's decision is now being awaited in the unusual case of Rene Lima-Marin. Attorneys for the government and Lima-Marin have argued their case in Immigration Court.

rene lima marin
(credit: CBS)

Lima-Marin is the Coloradan who was convicted in 2000 of kidnapping, burglary and robbery in the holdup of a video store. He got out of prison 90 years early by mistake, started a new life but then got locked up again years later after authorities realized their error.

After state leaders came to his defense, a judge set him for release from prison but immigration authorities swept in and took him into their custody instead. They revealed he was up for deportation to his native Cuba. He was then pardoned by Colorado's governor, but he remains locked up on the immigration hold.

"We are arguing that Mr. Lima Marin is not removable, that his convictions pardoned for can no longer provide a basis for removability," attorney Aaron Elinoff told CBS investigator Rick Sallinger.

After the pardon by Gov. John Hickenlooper, immigration authorities filed a new deportable claim of a firearms violation.

Jason Kasparek, the victim in 2000, says there was a firearms violation. Even though Lima Marin wasn't the one holding the rifle in the crime, Kasparek says he could have lost his life.

"He's got the gun, holding it to my head and asking, you know, 'If I let you live, what is the last thing you want to see?'"

rene lima marin2
(credit: CBS)

Lima-Marin's wife Jasmine told CBS4 one of their sons' birthdays is soon and his wish is for his father to come home.

Elinoff was asked how his client is doing,

"He has a tremendous amount of faith, bible study and holding sessions with other detainees at the detention center in Aurora," Elinoff said.

Even if the judge rules against Lima-Marin, he is hoping his client can be released pending the outcome of an appeal.

CBS4's Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award-winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.