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.