A year after an appeals court threw out his 30-day sentence imposed in connection with his tackling of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, Rene Boucher has a new court date to be sentenced again, but his attorney will request that the case be dismissed.
Boucher is scheduled to return July 27 to U.S. District Court in Bowling Green to be sentenced on a count of assaulting a member of Congress, which stems from the Nov. 3, 2017, incident in which Boucher tackled his then-neighbor outside the Republican lawmaker’s home in Bowling Green.
Boucher served the 30-day federal prison sentence, paid a $10,000 fine and performed community service after pleading guilty to the charge.
Those steps are a legally appropriate punishment, Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker, said in a motion filed Wednesday to dismiss the criminal case.
Boucher finds himself back in court after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit vacated the 30-day sentence last year, ruling that the punishment did not take into account the extent of the Republican lawmaker’s injuries when he was tackled outside his house.
The appeals court’s decision followed a successful appeal by special prosecutor Bradley Shepard, who had sought a 21-month sentence for Boucher.
Baker unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his case following the ruling from the appeals court.
In his motion, Baker said Boucher completed every aspect of the sentence originally imposed and risks being punished twice for the same crime if the resentencing were to proceed.
“Mulligans are sometimes allowed in a game of golf, but they should never, never, ever be permitted when a person’s liberty is at stake,” Baker said in his 17-page motion.
Baker said he was assured by prosecutors before the initial sentencing that the government would seek a particular sentence for Boucher, and Baker would be free to argue for any penalty permitted by law.
In court filings, Baker has framed the prosecution’s subsequent appeal of the 30-day sentence as the government going back on its word and exposing Boucher to the risk of double jeopardy due to his having completed his incarceration and paid his fine.
Shepard has argued that the government never gave up its right to appeal Boucher’s sentence and has taken the position in court filings that the 30-day sentence was too lenient in comparison to similar assault cases in the federal court system.
Baker, in his motion to dismiss, posits a scenario in which Boucher would be ordered to return to court for repeated sentencing hearings after further appeals from prosecutors unsatisfied with the latest punishment imposed.
The motion summarizes the events that led to the assault outside the senator’s house.
Boucher had previously disposed of piles of yard waste that had been collected in Paul’s yard within sight of Boucher’s property.
Baker has argued that Boucher believed the piles were amassed in response to Boucher trimming maple trees on Paul’s side of the property line that had grown over onto Boucher’s property.
The night before the assault, Boucher attempted to dispose of a pile by burning it with gasoline but suffered burns to his face, neck and arms when the pile ignited.
Boucher has maintained that Paul’s politics didn’t motivate his actions.
“There is something fundamentally wrong and patently unfair about this whole scenario,” Baker said in his motion. “It appears that the government is getting a ‘mulligan’ for the simple reason that the victim is a United States Senator. If Senator Paul’s political opinions or political office were somehow related to the reason for Boucher’s actions, then an entirely different outcome might have been warranted and obtained at sentencing. But this case has never been about politics or a clash of political viewpoints; rather, it was a dispute over lawn maintenance in a gated community, where one of the principals just happened to be a United States Senator.”
The judge who originally sentenced Boucher, special judge Marianne Battani, is no longer participating in the case.
A senior U.S. District Court judge based in Michigan, Battani announced earlier this month that she planned to step away from her duties after being diagnosed with cancer, the Detroit Free Press reported June 8.
U.S. District Judge Matthew Leitman of the Eastern District of Michigan has been appointed as new special judge to hear Boucher’s case, according to federal court records.
– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.