Documents: rape sentence 'gross disruption of justice' - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Documents: rape sentence 'gross disruption of justice'

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Convicted rapist Austin Clem was sentenced to four years in the community corrections program and six years probation. Convicted rapist Austin Clem was sentenced to four years in the community corrections program and six years probation.

The Limestone County District Attorney filed court documents that said a Circuit Court judge made a mistake when sentencing a rapist to a lenient sentence that required no jail time. District Attorney Brian Jones wants the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals to make a change to the sentence of convicted rapist Austin Clem.

A jury previously convicted Clem on first and second-degree rape charges, all involving the same victim.  

The charge comes with 30 years prison time, but the judge sentenced him to four years in the community corrections program and six years probation. The judge ruled no jail time for Clem unless he violated these terms.

According to the court documents, Jones said the sentence violated Alabama law and the sentence is a "gross disruption of criminal justice."

WAFF researched the law that Jones cited in the appeal. Alabama Code 15-18-171 talks about defendants found guilty of crimes and the sentences they can receive including to the community corrections program.

15-18-171 (14): EXCLUDED FELONY OFFENDERS. One who is convicted of any of the following felony offenses: Murder, kidnapping in the first degree, rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree, arson in the first degree, trafficking in controlled substances, robbery in the first degree, sexual abuse in the first degree, forcible sex crimes, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child, or assault in the first degree if the assault leaves the victim permanently disfigured or disabled.

WAFF legal analyst Mark McDaniel called this case one of the most unique cases we've had in our area in a long time. 

"The issue is whether or not there was a legal mistake made," said McDaniel. "Basically, is the sentence illegal?"

Clem's victim Courtney Andrews, who wants to be identified, was shocked by the sentence. The district attorney said he would review all possible options to reach a sentence that would bring justice to Andrews.  

"The first thing that I asked was what can we do to change this because this is not ok for me and I am not through here but of course, I was thinking what is there to do? This is a judge. This is court. What else is there for me to do that could possibly change anything?" said Andrews.

McDaniel said this case is years from being over, and isn't ruling out a double jeopardy argument coming into play.

"He's had his day in court, he's been sentenced. You could argue it's a valid sentence, and you can't bring him back because you don't like the sentence and change it now," he said.

WAFF reached out to The Limestone County District Attorney's Office and the judge's office. Both declined to comment on the current situation. 

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