Alabama Judge Once Again Sentences Rapist To Probation Without Prison Time


Last month, an Alabama county judge sentenced a man convicted of raping a young teen several times to probation and treatment, but no jail time. When the victim of the rapes came forward, Limestone County Circuit Court Judge James Woodroof’s surprising sentence generated outrage from the public, and an appeals court ordered Woodroof to re-sentence Austin Smith Clem.

But on Monday, Woodroof once again handed down a sentence that included no prison time.

In the initial sentence, Clem would have served two years in a community corrections program and three years probation. The actual order called for 10 years in prison for each of two second-degree rape charges, and 20 years in prison for a first-degree rape charge, but Woodroof structured the sentence in such a way that he would not actually serve any of that time.

The new sentence incorporates a similar structure, and will effectively sentence Clem to a sentence that is arguably even lighter — five years’ probation, rather a split between probation and community corrections. If Clem violates probation, Clem could spend 35 years behind bars. The District Attorney is once again challenging the sentence.

The light sentence prompted victim Courtney Andrews, now 20, to come forward and express her outrage that Clem would not receive harsh punishment. After the new sentence, Andrews’ father said he was “disgusted.”