A federal appeals court ruled that the sentence given to the man who assaulted Sen. Rand Paul in 2017, leaving the lawmaker with six broken ribs and ongoing health complications, was too lenient.
Paul was attacked from behind by his neighbor, Rene Boucher, over a disagreement about the way Paul took care of his lawn. Boucher charged him running full speed 60 yards downhill “and hurled himself headfirst into Paul’s lower back,” according to the court. Paul was seriously injured and suffered with ongoing “intense pain” as a result of them. Last month, he had to have surgery to remove part of his lung, which stemmed from injuries sustained during the 2017 attack.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Boucher's original sentence of 30 days in jail and a $10,000 fee because they fell well below sentencing guidelines for the crime.
The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, noted that the guidelines call for 21 to 27 months for the federal crime of assaulting a member of Congress and that Paul’s injuries, including six broken ribs, were serious. Prosecutors had asked for a 21-month sentence.
It’s unusual for an appeals court to tamper with the sentence meted out by a trial judge, in this instance, U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani, brought in from Michigan for the case. But the court suggested that the assailant, Rene A. Boucher, an affluent physician like Paul, had gotten special treatment because of his social status.
Judge Jane B. Stranch, writing for the panel, noted that the sentencing judge had justified the punishment in part on Boucher being an “educated person,” with no criminal history, respected in the community and at church, and the father of two children “doing very well.”
“To prioritize a defendant’s education, professional success, and standing in the community” gives a “leg up to defendants who are already in a privileged position,” Stranch wrote. “Indigent defendants are less likely to impress a sentencing court with their education, employment record, or local reputation.” (WaPo)
The panel concluded there was “no compelling justification for Boucher’s well-below-Guidelines sentence” from the Clinton-appointed judge and ordered the district court to resentence Boucher based on the ruling.