Criminal Appeals Court Upholds Lighter Sentence for Convicted Rapist Austin Clem
ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals upheld a convicted rapist’s controversial sentence that did not include jail time, according to our news partners at The Huntsville Times/Al.com.
25-year-old Austin Smith Clem’s rape case drew national attention last year after he was convicted in September of first-degree rape and two counts of second-degree rape.
Limestone County Judge James Woodroof initially sentenced Clem to 20 years in prison for the first-degree rape charge but then split the sentence, ordering Clem to serve two years in community corrections and three years probation.
After the November sentencing, DA Brian Jones petitioned the Court of Criminal Appeals on grounds that a first-degree rape charge should include jail time in the sentencing phase.
The Court ordered Clem to be re-sentenced in late November 2013. In December of 2013 Woodroof issued a new sentence that was lighter than the initial sentence.
Clem was sentenced to 15 years in prison for first-degree rape but Woodroof split the sentence to time served and placed Clem on five years of supervised probation. The sentence did not include jail time or time in community corrections.
Jones once again filed an appeal but this time the court sided with Woodroof’s sentence.
“We’re trying to decide what action to take,” Jones said this morning to Al.com. “I talked to the family (of the victim) last night and we’re going to get together today and make a decision.”
We spoke with the victim in this case, Courtney Andrews back in November. WHNT News 19 does not usually reveal the identity of rape victims, but Courtney gave permission for her name to be used in the story.