DA: 'It does not appear the governor followed Colorado law' in pardon

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Colorado's governor issued a pardon Friday for a man ordered to be re-released from prison after a mix-up, and a prominent district attorney and gubernatorial candidate is accusing him of breaking state law.

“It does not appear the governor followed Colorado law," said 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler in a statement. "In fact, it appears this pardon is in violation of Colorado law and may be an invalid pardon."

Immigration Customs and Enforcement agents arrested 38-year-old Rene Lima-Marin after his release from prison Wednesday.

His wife, Jasmine, said Lima-Marin checked in with immigration officials every few months after he was mistakenly released from prison in 2008 but deportation was not a concern then.

Lima-Marin was convicted of armed robbery in 2000, mistakenly released in 2008 and then ordered back to prison in 2014. This week a judge ordered him to be released again, saying it would be "draconian" to keep him in prison.

The attorney for the Cuban immigrant facing possible deportation says it's far from certain that his client won't be deported, despite the governor's pardon.

Two Colorado lawmakers signed a letter asking Gov. John Hickenlooper to pardon Lima-Marin in order to remove the legal basis for ICE to detain him.

Brauchler's office sent out the following statement hours after the pardon:

“Colorado law requires the governor to provide 14 days for relevant parties -- including the district attorney and sentencing judge -- to respond to an application for a pardon. I have never seen an application for pardon in this case. We were not given the statutory time to respond, and we were not able to seek input from the victims or give them notice that a pardon was sought or being considered. The victims likely will find out like we did – on social media or news outlets.

“The pardon application form that the governor’s office purportedly requires applicants to submit clearly states that a pardon is available only after seven years have elapsed from the end of the applicant's sentence. This applicant wasn’t even out of custody seven days

“It does not appear the governor followed Colorado law. In fact, it appears this pardon is in violation of Colorado law and may be an invalid pardon.

“The hasty decision to ignore state law was made seemingly to skirt federal law, and that is not an appropriate use of the governor’s pardon power.”

11 News has reached out to Gov. Hickenlooper's office for a response and is waiting to hear back.