Politics & Government

Too bad prosecutor didn't like punishment. Plea deal protects Rand Paul attacker, defense says

FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, Rene Boucher, center, appears in court for an arraignment hearing with his attorney Matt Baker, left, at the Warren County Justice Center in Bowling Green, Ky. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is suing his neighbor Boucher, who admitted to tackling Rand as he mowed his yard. The Bowling Green Daily News reports the Friday, June 22, 2018, complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Boucher for "physical pain and mental suffering" from the November assault.
FILE - In this Nov. 9, 2017, file photo, Rene Boucher, center, appears in court for an arraignment hearing with his attorney Matt Baker, left, at the Warren County Justice Center in Bowling Green, Ky. U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is suing his neighbor Boucher, who admitted to tackling Rand as he mowed his yard. The Bowling Green Daily News reports the Friday, June 22, 2018, complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages from Boucher for "physical pain and mental suffering" from the November assault. Austin Anthony

The attorney for Rene Boucher has formally responded to the federal government's appeal of the 30-day sentence a judge imposed on Boucher in connection with the assault of his neighbor, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Boucher, 60, was ordered to serve 30 days in prison and fined $10,000 last month after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to the charge of assault of a member of Congress.

Boucher was accused of tackling Paul on Nov. 3 as the senator gathered branches on his property.

Court records featured claims that Paul stacked yard debris on multiple occasions near the property line he shares with Boucher in the Rivergreen subdivision that obscured Boucher's view from his patio.

The federal charge against Boucher carried a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

In the criminal case, special prosecutor Bradley Shepard sought a 21-month prison sentence for Boucher, a length of time at the low end of federal sentencing guidelines as they pertained to Boucher's lack of criminal history.

Special Judge Marianne Battani imposed the 30-day incarceration, saying during Boucher's sentencing hearing she did not believe the assault was politically motivated.

Shepard appealed the sentence June 29 to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, filed a motion late Friday with the appeals court to dismiss Shepard's appeal, arguing that the federal government waived its right to appeal any sentence and agreed in court filings that whatever sentence the judge imposed would be appropriate.

Baker cites email communications from Shepard stipulating that the government would recommend a sentence for Boucher on the low end of sentencing guidelines if he pleaded guilty and Boucher's attorney would be free to recommend any sentence authorized by federal statute.

By appealing the 30-day sentence, Baker argues the government is going back on its agreement to accept the judge's ruling.

"It is completely disingenuous, on the one hand, for the government to agree not to oppose a defendant's request that a particular sentence or sentencing range is appropriate, and then – on the other hand – to appeal the sentence because it is not draconian enough to suit the government," Baker said in his motion to dismiss.

Paul has sued Boucher in Warren County seeking damages over the incident and Boucher filed a counter claim to hold Paul liable for yard debris. A hearing is set for July 30.

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