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Federal court orders resentencing for Rand Paul’s attacker

A federal appeals court ordered resentencing of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s attacker calling it a “well-below-guidelines” prison sentence for an attack that broke the lawmaker’s ribs.

The attack: In 2017, Paul was tackled from behind by his neighbor Rene Boucher over an argument about lawn clippings. Paul had six broken ribs and a long hospital stay that forced him to take a leave of absence from the Senate. He required further surgery in August 2019. Paul testified that he suffered constant “intense pain” as a result of his injuries.

The ruling: District Court judge Marianne O. Battani sentenced Boucher to only 30 days, saying that he had an “excellent background,” was “an educated person,” and that he “participated in the community in his medical practice and in his church.” The judge also cited the witnesses who testified for Boucher, including his pastor and the developer of his gated community, Free Beacon reports.

Boucher could have received up to 10 years in prison for an assault of a member of Congress, but prosecutors sought 21 to 27 months in light of his acceptance of responsibility. They appealed the case, saying that the light sentence was “substantively unreasonable” compared with similar cases. The Sixth Circuit agreed on Monday, noting that Congress specifically instructed courts not to give importance to class and education when sentencing defendants.

“To prioritize a defendant’s education, professional success, and standing in the community would give an additional leg up to defendants who are already in a privileged position,” wrote Obama appointee Jane Stranch for a three-judge panel. “Indigent defendants are less likely to impress a sentencing court with their education, employment record, or local reputation. But they are no less deserving of a reasonable and compassionate sentence.”

The judges concluded there was “no compelling justification for Boucher’s well-below-Guidelines sentence”. The court remanded the case back to district court, where Boucher will be resentenced.

 

Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore