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Appeals court orders new sentencing for man convicted of brutally assaulting Rand Paul, ruling that his original sentence was 'substantively unreasonable'

'No compelling justification'

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

A federal appeals court has ordered the re-sentencing of Rene Boucher, the man convicted of brutally assaulting Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in an unprovoked attack outside Paul's Kentucky home in 2017.

While Paul was mowing his lawn, Boucher — who lived next to Paul — attacked the senator from behind, breaking six of Paul's ribs and severely damaging one of his lungs.

Despite the nature of the attack, and the fact that Paul is a sitting member of Congress, Boucher was sentenced in June 2018 to just 30 days in prison and fined $10,000. He could have faced up to 10 years in prison, though prosecutors recommended 21 to 27 months because Boucher pleaded guilty.

Prosecutors later appealed the ruling, arguing the sentence was "substantively unreasonable." They argued that Boucher, a retired anesthesiologist, was given special treatment due to his social status and standing in the community.

On Monday, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed.

Judge Jane Stranch, writing for the three-judge panel, said there was "no compelling justification for Boucher's well-below-Guidelines sentence." In fact, she said the district court judge heavily favored Boucher's background, despite the nature of his crime and the extent of Paul's injuries, resulting in a "substantively unreasonable sentence."

The "extreme nature" of the district judge's deviation from sentencing guidelines was made "without a correspondingly compelling justification," Stranch said.

The appeals court, therefore, vacated Boucher's lenient sentence and remanded his case to district court for re-sentencing.

In January, a Kentucky jury awarded Paul nearly $600,000 for the injuries he suffered. He sued seeking more than $1 million.

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