Sometimes there are stories that just leave me utterly speechless. The original story about a case in Alabama where Austin Smith Clem, who had been found guilty of rape three times yet got zero jail time, was one of those stories.
When I had first heard about it, I really didn’t even know what to think. The first thought that went through my mind was, “How the hell does this even happen? It’s a really bad joke, right?” Well, it wasn’t.
Mr. Clem’s original sentence, given to him by Judge James Woodroof, was two 10 year sentences for his second-degree rape convictions and a 20 year sentence for his first-degree rape charge. But the sentence was structured in such a way that Mr. Clem was allowed to avoid any jail time if he abided by his probation and the restrictions set by the judge, which included serving two years in a program aimed at helping non-violent offenders.
How in the hell is someone who was convicted of raping a teenage girl three different times considered “non-violent?” It’s ridiculous.
Well, following intense public outcry, the judge decided to reconsider the original sentence.
Surely this time a man convicted of three counts of rape would see the inside of a jail cell for quite some time, right? Nope. Not only did the judge not give Mr. Clem any jail time (for the second time) he actually lessened his original sentence of “probation” by five years.
Can someone please explain to me how this judge is still a judge?
I can’t even begin to understand how this is even happening. Am I just missing out on key details of this story? Though I can’t imagine any details justifying no jail time for someone who was convicted of raping someone three times — twice when she was fourteen!
This is one of those stories where I just don’t understand how this is even allowed to happen. I just really don’t.
Then, when the judge is given a second chance to fix a horrible mistake, not only does he not fix it — he lessens the “punishment” for the convicted rapist by five years.
Absurd doesn’t even begin to describe this entire situation. There’s just no justification that I can possibly imagine to explain not sending someone convicted of three counts of rape to jail, let alone lessening his “sentence” upon reconsideration.
I don’t know where this goes from here, if there’s anywhere else it can go, but this damn sure can’t be called justice.
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