Colorado governor pardons felon to stave off deportation


"Given the extraordinary circumstances of this case and Mr. Lima-Marin's demonstrated ability to live successfully in the would be unjust for Mr. Lima-Marin to suffer further consequences for his convictions", Hickenlooper said.

Their fellow GOP candidate Victor Mitchell, however, didn't weigh in on the wisdom of the pardon but argued that the federal government should think long and hard before deporting Lima-Marin back to "a totalitarian regime".

Though born in Havana, Lima-Marin, now 38, came to the US when he was about 2 years old in the Mariel boatlift that brought roughly 125,000 refugees to Florida in 1980.

District Attorney George Brauchler, whose office prosecuted Lima-Marin, said Hickenlooper did not give prosecutors time to review the pardon application as required by state law.

"We understand pardons are an extraordinary remedy", Meyer said. "The family has shown fantastic strength and we hope this is a temporary stop on his way to being reunited with his family". "We hope that ICE will work with us to release Rene from custody and allow us to reopen his immigration case, restore his lawful permanent status, and reunite with his family", Meyer said. "Thanks to this important step by the governor, we are one step closer to reuniting Rene with his wife and children".

ICE spokesman Carl Rusnok said the pardon does not change his agency's position.

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Cuba only accepts deportations on a case-by-case basis so there's not guarantee he will be sent there.

He came to the United States when he was 1 year old as part of the Mariel Boatlift, the lawyers said. Lima-Marin was sentenced to 98 years in prison for the robbery.

Lima-Marin, who was just 18 at the time, was sentenced to the lengthy term before being mistakenly released on parole in 2008.

The government acted with "conscience-shocking" indifference in re-incarcerating him in 2014, the judge said. He got a job, married his high school sweetheart, Jasmine Lima-Marin, had two children, bought a home and encouraged youth in his community to follow a path different from the one he chose.

"These are people who have done the same kind of work, they've rehabilitated their lives ..."

"Rene Michael Lima-Marin now has final orders of removal from a federal immigration judge", ICE said. Clifton is still in prison, serving his 98-year sentence.

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Lima-Marin is an "asset to society" and an "outstanding citizen" who worked with young people and encouraged them to make good decisions, according to the judge's ruling.

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.

Lima-Marin's wife, Jasmine, also spoke at that press conference, saying the sudden turn of events was very unexpected. "To have this happen, we just kind of feel like, for some reason, they want to keep our family apart".

Jason Kasperek, the assistant manager at a video store that Rene Lima-Marin and an accomplice robbed in 1998, said Lima-Marin should be back in prison.

The Colorado Legislature approved a nonbinding resolution earlier this month urging Governor John Hickenlooper to grant Lima-Marin clemency. Hickenlooper and the judge cited Alexander Hamilton, that the first duty of society is justice. "And having ICE making the exact opposite decision in the 11th hour". He added that Lima-Marin could be issued a an order of supervision that would allow him to stay in the country while periodically reporting to ICE.

Based on the paperwork, an attorney who met with Lima-Marin in prison to discuss an appeal told him his sentence had been reduced to 16 years. "The pardon request is clearly stated in a letter from [Lima-Marin's] attorney, which is included in the clemency packet", the statement said.

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"I would not issue a pardon intended exclusively to defeat Federal immigration law", tweeted the prosecutor, who is also a colonel in the Colorado National Guard.