Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sent Back To Jail For 98 Years.

I am sick and tired of writing about injustice. It is a tiresome, unending, stressful narrative that has almost become routine. So the question has become not if, someone else gets screwed by the criminal injustice system. But. When? It is because of this sad certainty that I will continue to write, comment, and complain!

Rene Lima-Marin robbed two video stores 15 years ago, when he was just 19. He walked into the stores with an unloaded rifle and demanded money. He admitted to the crime and was sentenced to what he and his lawyer believed was a 16-year-sentence. After 10 years of serving time, Lima-Marin was set free. He got married, fathered two children and purchased a home. He swore he would never do anything to jeopardize the new life he had created.

Then, earlier this year, the life he had built came crumbling down when a judge, citing a clerical error, sent him back to prison to finish a 98-year sentence. 

"Ninety-eight years for what?" he told the local media. "People have raped, molested kids, taken lives and gotten 15, 20, 25 years. And I made a mistake and tried to steal some money, and I am given my entire life in prison? It just doesn't make sense."

According to local media sources the court system made an error, and therefore Lima-Marin's lawyer was given the wrong information about his case. Lima-Marin claims that his lawyer instructed him not to appeal what he initially believed was a lengthy sentence because he was already in the best-case scenario, which was for all of his charges to run concurrently, meaning that the longest sentence he could be given was 16 years.

Per his lawyer's advice, he withdrew his appeal for a shorter sentence. But the lawyer's information, and the court file sent to the Department of Corrections indicating his sentences, were both wrong. Lima-Marin's sentence was to run back-to-back, totaling more than 90 years.

During his initial incarceration, Lima-Marin was a model prisoner, never receiving even one write-up. 

"It's that everyday, happy, white-picket-fence type of life," he said about the life he'd created since being set free. He was free for almost six years before he was told of the court's mistake. 

So this man's life pauses along with his story, waiting for a happy ending. But the fact of the matter is that there are some choices, decisions, and mistakes that follow us for the rest of our lives. They loom over us regardless of progress or the passage of time. They can threaten our peace and happiness. While we are all entitled to indescretions we must make sure that we don't create ghost's in the process that will come back to haunt us.


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