A federal appeals court on Monday vacated a 30-day prison sentence for a neighbor of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who assaulted him in 2017, ruling it was overly lenient and ordering a resentencing, the Hill reports. Judge Jane Stranch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit said the judge to whom Rene Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress had “no compelling justification” for sentencing him far below federal guidelines. “Federal defendants with a criminal history category of I [the lowest possible level] who were convicted of assault received an average sentence of 26 months’ imprisonment and a median sentence of 21 months,” the appeals court said.
The opinion offered examples of other 30-day sentences for assaulting members of Congress and notes that the damage paled in comparison to that committed by Boucher, who broke five of Paul’s ribs and caused injuries that later required part of Paul’s lung to be removed. In 1981, two defendants were each sentenced to 30 days for throwing eggs at a congressman without hitting him, while a third defendant was sentenced to 15 days for spitting on a senator at an airport. “These prison terms were similar to Boucher’s, but the offense conduct was quite different—as the Government argues, ‘it is difficult to understand why a tackle resulting in long-term serious injuries warrants the same sentence as an egg toss or spit in the face,’ ” the Sixth Circuit said. More recent cases involving assaults on federal officers involve significantly longer sentences, such as a 2015 sentence of 24 months for a defendant who pushed a door into the arm of a government doctor and a 2014 case in which the defendant was given 21 months for bloodying a Customs officer’s nose and ear.