Society

Convicted Rapist Austin Smith Clem Won't Serve Jail Time, Judge Decides Again

| by Allison Geller

Austin Smith Clem, an Alabama man convicted of rape, will serve no jail time and will only be punished with probation, a state appeals court decided Friday.

Clem, 25, was found guilty in September of raping his neighbor, Courtney Andrews, twice when she was 14 and once when she was 18. He was sentenced to 20 years for first-degree rape and 10-years for second-degree rape in November, but because of the way the sentences were split he was only required to serve two years of community corrections and six years of probation. He must also register as a sex offender.

In the resentencing, the same judge, Jimmy Woodroof, again handed Clem jail time—but only to be served if he violates five years of probation. Clem will serve 35 years if he violates his probation, which states that he can’t leave Alabama or drink alcohol, among other provisions, he will serve up to 35 years in jail.

Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones is pushing for Clem to be incarcerated and sought the appeal on the grounds that the first sentence was too lenient.

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

"After consultation with the victim's family, we are in the process of examining our legal options," Jones told Mother Jones.

Jones first got Clem’s probation time upped from three years to five. But he and the victim want to see him behind bars.

The victim decided to come forth with her identity in order to speak out against her attacker. She and her family have expressed their shock and frustration with Clem’s light sentencing. Andrews says she fears for her and her family’s safety while Clem is still walking free.

Sources: AL.com, Mother Jones, MSNBC