Justice coming for Rand Paul, thanks to Sixth Circuit Court

I was among many people shocked and outraged by the lenient sentence — 30 days! — handed down to Rand Paul's next-door neighbor, Rene Boucher, by U.S. District Court judge Marianne Battani, "a special judge called in from Michigan."

Recall that Senator Paul was gravely injured by Boucher, requiring hospitalization several times, and now, two years after the incident, he had to be hospitalized again to have part of his lung removed.  In addition, he has suffered extreme pain for an extended period.

Judge Battani was appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton.


Photo credit: Openjurist.org.

But this slap on the wrist for grave injury was just overturned by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Kayla McGhee reports in the Examiner:

Two years, six broken ribs, several bouts of pneumonia, and one hernia surgery later, Rand Paul might finally get the justice he deserves.

In 2017, the Kentucky Republican was attacked by a neighbor while mowing his lawn. He ended up in the hospital and has been in and out several times since. (snip)

The recommended sentencing for Rene Boucher, 60, who is still Paul's next-door neighbor, was 21 months of jail time, although the maximum sentence for assaulting a member of Congress is 10 years. But the district court ruled that because this had been an "isolated," "first time action" that was "strictly a dispute between neighbors," and because of Boucher's "excellent background," Boucher deserved a minor sentence.

The federal government appealed Boucher's 30-day sentencing, arguing that the seriousness of Paul's injuries should necessitate a harsher sentencing. The Sixth Circuit agreed and argued Boucher's personal background — his education, family, and community service — should not have had anything to do with his sentencing.

"These factors are disfavored for good reason," the court wrote in its opinion ordering the district court to re-sentence Boucher. "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 ... That is why Congress and the [federal sentencing] Guidelines oppose a class-based system where accumulated wealth, education, and status serve as credits against a criminal sentence."

The Sixth Circuit is correct.  The only thing about Boucher that mattered was his willingness to attack another man — over the appearance of his yard, no less.  Did Boucher's college degree stop him from tackling Paul to the ground?  Did his habitual community service stop him from hitting Paul over and over again?

The case is sent back ("remanded") for re-sentencing.  A federal judge has implicitly been rebuked.  The ball now is in Judge Battani's court (pardon the pun).  Let's hope she reconsiders and hands down a sentence appropriate to the damage done, measured in years, not months or days.

I was among many people shocked and outraged by the lenient sentence — 30 days! — handed down to Rand Paul's next-door neighbor, Rene Boucher, by U.S. District Court judge Marianne Battani, "a special judge called in from Michigan."

Recall that Senator Paul was gravely injured by Boucher, requiring hospitalization several times, and now, two years after the incident, he had to be hospitalized again to have part of his lung removed.  In addition, he has suffered extreme pain for an extended period.

Judge Battani was appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton.


Photo credit: Openjurist.org.

But this slap on the wrist for grave injury was just overturned by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Kayla McGhee reports in the Examiner:

Two years, six broken ribs, several bouts of pneumonia, and one hernia surgery later, Rand Paul might finally get the justice he deserves.

In 2017, the Kentucky Republican was attacked by a neighbor while mowing his lawn. He ended up in the hospital and has been in and out several times since. (snip)

The recommended sentencing for Rene Boucher, 60, who is still Paul's next-door neighbor, was 21 months of jail time, although the maximum sentence for assaulting a member of Congress is 10 years. But the district court ruled that because this had been an "isolated," "first time action" that was "strictly a dispute between neighbors," and because of Boucher's "excellent background," Boucher deserved a minor sentence.

The federal government appealed Boucher's 30-day sentencing, arguing that the seriousness of Paul's injuries should necessitate a harsher sentencing. The Sixth Circuit agreed and argued Boucher's personal background — his education, family, and community service — should not have had anything to do with his sentencing.

"These factors are disfavored for good reason," the court wrote in its opinion ordering the district court to re-sentence Boucher. "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 ... That is why Congress and the [federal sentencing] Guidelines oppose a class-based system where accumulated wealth, education, and status serve as credits against a criminal sentence."

The Sixth Circuit is correct.  The only thing about Boucher that mattered was his willingness to attack another man — over the appearance of his yard, no less.  Did Boucher's college degree stop him from tackling Paul to the ground?  Did his habitual community service stop him from hitting Paul over and over again?

The case is sent back ("remanded") for re-sentencing.  A federal judge has implicitly been rebuked.  The ball now is in Judge Battani's court (pardon the pun).  Let's hope she reconsiders and hands down a sentence appropriate to the damage done, measured in years, not months or days.