ATHENS, Ala. - A lawyer for Austin Clem, an Alabama man who was convicted of three counts of rape but received no prison time, says not only does Clem not deserve to go to jail, but he’s completely innocent.
Dan Totten said the conviction of Clem in a series of alleged attacks on a former neighbor that began when she was 13 was unjustified, the court proceedings were one-sided, and his client may actually deserve a new trial.
“The evidence was not really as strong, as far as I'm concerned, as it should have been for a conviction," Totten told the Decatur Daily for a Tuesday story.
Jurors in September found Clem guilty in a series of attacks that began when the now 20-year-old woman was 13.
Despite the objections of prosecutors and jurors, Clem, now 25, received no prison time.
Limestone County Circuit Judge James Woodroof originally sentenced Clem to spend two years with a community corrections program that would have allowed him to continue living at home, spend three years on probation and pay $1,631 in restitution to the victim.
Prosecutors argued the sentence violated state law and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ordered the judge to resentence him. The jury foreman also said the panelists had expected prison to be part of the sentence.
So Woodroof looked at the sentence again, and in a second ruling announced Monday, he did away with the community corrections program, too, and ordered Clem to spend five years on probation.
The victim has spoken out against Clem's resentencing and said she's extremely upset with the judge's ruling.