Limestone County District Attorney Will Not Pursue Further Legal Action In Rape Case

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Austin Clem

ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – The Limestone County District Attorney’s Office will not pursue further legal action towards overturning a convicted rapist’s controversial sentence that did not include jail time.

In a statement released Thursday, Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said,

“After consultation with the victim and her family, we have decided not to pursue a petition for writ of mandamus to the Alabama Supreme Court.  Courtney Andrews has shown immense courage and tenacity during this ordeal.  My hope is that through her example, other victims of sexual offenses will find the courage to speak out and come forward with these crimes.  Our law enforcement agencies, in conjunction with my office, will continue to work diligently to assure that Austin Clem remains in compliance with all of the terms of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) and the conditions of his probation.”

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, 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 what is known as a petition for writ of mandamus, but this time the court sided with Woodroof’s sentence.

He decided on Thursday to not pursue further legal action.

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.


  • Paul Sharritt

    This is not the first time Judge Woodroof has done this and it will not be the last,he was only going by sentencing guidelines that are put forth by the state and until the ones in charge change those,than nothing will change.

  • Sue

    A. RAPIST is just that …..then some unfortunate next victim…or the same one he will pursue. They love their easy sentencing! The law is way too easy on these “things” called humans who do whatever they want with little or no punishment! Sickening!!!

  • Crystal Turner Nichols

    This is crap!!!! He pretty much gets away with it but two years ago an innocent man was found guilty of 3 counts of rape and was sentenced to 90 years in prison!! When they didnt have any real evidence that the one 2 years ago actually did anything!!! Our system in limestone county is SCREWED UP!!!! GET IT TOGETHER!!!!!!!

  • jamison jones

    Finally this s***t is over with. This family needs to move on. What most people know is whats on the news but this is a very vengeful, unrepentant family who want nothing but blackmail and extortion. Keep it moving.

    • M Scroggins

      Vengeful and unrepentant?? Blackmail and extortion? Pray tell what deep insight you have into this case?? This family just wants to see justice done for their daughter.

  • jamison jones

    Even if you want justice, the way they went about is legally and fundamentally wrong. This family wanted the courts to work at their whims. I mean, thats why we have rules. Sorry, if things don’t go your way, you have other avenues you can pursue without looking like you are badgering the system. It doesn’t work that way. That girl too..well, i’ll leave it at that. Move on.

  • M Scroggins

    How was it legally or fundamentally wrong? They reported the crime. The police investigated. The grand jury heard the evidence and issued the indictment. A jury of Austin Clem’s peers heard that same evidence and found him guilty. Due to his family’s position in the comm unity, he was given a ridiculously light sentence. The decision to appeal the sentence was not the family’s, it was the Limestone County District Attorney’s decision. He knew the first sentence wasn’t a legal sentence and the appeals court agreed. The only ones not following the rules were Austin Clem and the judge. At least the second sentence followed the actual statutes. It’s still a travesty that a repeat offender rapist won’t go to prison, but that is an issue the voters can weigh in on when/if Woodroof runs for reelection.

    What other avenues were there to pursue? I think you have your own personal views regarding sex crimes and you apply those views, no matter the facts of the case in front of you. By all means, yes, please move on.

  • KB

    This is terrible and this is exactly why a lot of females….and males for that matter do not report their attacks. Why should they when sick dirtbags like this can get away with it?? Unfortunatley this may happen again if he can get away with it once.

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