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. Recently, Paul announced he had to have part of his lung removed due to the damage it sustained during the assault.
Paul’s neighbor, on the other hand, walked away with a mere 30-day prison sentence, which the federal Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals declared “substantively unreasonable” in a ruling released today.
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.”