A federal appeals court on Monday vacated what it called a "well-below-guidelines" prison sentence for the man who tackled Sen. Rand Paul outside his Kentucky home, ordering a resentencing for the attack that broke the lawmaker's ribs. The three-judge panel of the 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals said it found "no compelling justification" for Rene Boucher's 30-day sentence. The ruling came in response to an appeal by federal prosecutors who had argued that 21 months would have been more appropriate. The appeals court took no position on an appropriate sentence, saying the federal district court judge retains "ample discretion," the AP reports. The Republican senator was tackled by Boucher in late 2017 when Paul's then-neighbor became angry over lawn maintenance at the senator's home.
The attack broke several of Paul's ribs, damaged a lung, and led to bouts of pneumonia. Part of his damaged lung was removed in a recent surgery. Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress and served his 30-day sentence at a federal prison in Illinois. The appeals court panel said even though the attack did not appear to be politically motivated, the sentencing judge "gave little weight to the need to promote general deterrence" of attacks on political figures. "We believe that the trial judge got it right the first time," Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, said Monday. Baker said he's considering an appeal to the US Supreme Court. Paul sued Boucher, and a jury in Bowling Green, Kentucky, awarded the lawmaker more than $580,000 in damages and medical expenses. Boucher, an anesthesiologist, has since sold his home next door to the senator.
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