By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– An Arapahoe County District court judge has ruled that Michael Clifton should not be released from prison. He was sentenced to 98 years behind bars in a 1998 case as the co-defendant of Rene Lima-Marin, who was accidentally released nine decades too early.

Michael Clifton (credit: CBS)

Clifton’s attorney Adam Frank argued in filings and hearings that Clifton should be released under “equal protection under the law.”

The judge disagreed saying “the factors that led to Lima-Marin’s freedom are entirely separate from those which are similar between him and the petitioner (Clifton).”

Rene Lima-Marin (credit: CBS)

Lima-Marin, in a highly publicized case, was released due to a governmental paperwork error in which his sentence was marked down in records as concurrent rather than consecutive.

After eight years in prison Lima-Marin was mistakenly released, married, had a family and led “an exemplary” life according to the judge’s order.

(credit: CBS)

Lima-Marin was re-arrested after six years when the mistake was discovered, then ultimately freed again.

Clifton has been involved in incidents in prison according to testimony, but that was not a factor in the judge’s decision. The judge found that despite both men being involved in the same video store robberies and sentenced together, their cases were not related enough for Clifton to be freed.

Rick Sallinger