Last June, Judge Marianne Battani sentenced Rene Boucher to 30 days in jail and 100 hours of community service for his unprovoked attack on Sen. Rand Paul. Boucher had pleaded guilty to the federal charge of assaulting a member of Congress, which is a felony. Prosecutors had been seeking a sentence of 21 months but the judge gave Boucher a break. Now an appeals court has vacated that sentence saying it was too light:
The appeals court found that Boucher’s sentence was substantively unreasonable and unjustified in light of the extent of Paul’s injuries and other factors…
The appeals court found that Battani’s sentence did not take into account the extent of Paul’s injuries, which were characterized as “more than minor” in Monday’s ruling, written by U.S. Circuit Judge Jane Branstetter Stranch.
I’m not an attorney so I have nothing to lose by saying that the judge who handed out the original sentence sounds like an idiot. Not only did the attack break five of Sen. Paul’s ribs, just last month he had a portion of his lung removed because of lasting damage from the attack. How does that add up to a 30-day slap on the wrist? According to a review by the Appeals Court, it doesn’t:
The appeals court reviewed the criminal case and compared it to other federal assault cases involving defendants with little or no criminal history, relying on national statistics showing defendants with the lowest criminal history category under federal sentencing guidelines received an average sentence of 26 months for an assault conviction…
Boucher’s background as a physician, Army veteran and churchgoer with two successful children and lack of any prior criminal history were given too much weight in fashioning his prison sentence, the appeals court found.
Boucher, a Democrat who spent time bashing Trump on social media before the attack, is already getting off easy because he has convinced everyone (by sheer repetition) that this attack was not politically-motivated. I guess it’s possible Boucher really was irritated about lawn care issues, but he also knew who Sen. Paul was and certainly didn’t like his politics. It’s hard to believe that didn’t play some role in causing him to snap and get violent with a person he hadn’t spoken with in many years. It seems more likely to me that Boucher denied politics had anything to do with the attack for one obvious reason: He wanted to avoid a longer sentence.
It almost worked.
Boucher’s attorney says he’s considering appealing the case to the Supreme Court. He can try but given the data put together by the Appeals Court, I don’t see any reason to think it will help.