Rene Boucher’s sentencing hearing will go forward as scheduled Monday after a federal judge denied Boucher’s motion to dismiss the criminal case against him.
Special Judge Matthew Leitman, who was appointed recently to preside over the case in U.S. District Court, on Wednesday denied the motion filed by Boucher’s attorney, Matt Baker.
Boucher is set to be resentenced for assaulting a member of Congress. He pleaded guilty to the charge that stemmed from his tackling of his then-neighbor, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, in 2017 as Paul was doing yardwork at his home.
Boucher was initially ordered to serve 30 days in prison, pay a $10,000 fine and perform 100 hours of community service by Special Judge Marianne Battani in 2018.
The sentence was appealed by Special Prosecutor Bradley Shepard, partially on the grounds that the extent of Paul’s injuries from the assault were not taken into account when the sentence was formulated.
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit vacated the 30-day sentence and ordered Boucher to be resentenced, holding that the initial punishment was “substantively unreasonable” given the circumstances of the assault and in comparison to other assault prosecutions in federal court.
Baker argued in court filings that Boucher would be exposed to double jeopardy and a violation of his rights if he were to be sentenced again, since he has completed his jail time, paid the fine and performed the community service.
Leitman’s ruling, though, noted that Boucher had knowledge that the government had a right to appeal the sentence and had filed its appeal at the time Boucher began serving his sentence.
“Under the circumstances ... Boucher could not have had a reasonable expectation that his 30-day sentence would be final,” Leitman said in the nine-page ruling.
The judge also disagreed with Baker’s contention in previous court filings that by appealing, the government had backed out of an agreement to abide by the sentence imposed by Battani.
Leitman agreed with the federal appeals court that the agreement between Boucher and federal prosecutors didn’t constrain the government’s right to appeal, but instead simply allowed Boucher to argue for any legally permitted sentence within the range of federal guidelines.
Baker’s assertion in prior filings that Boucher has already served a “perfectly legal” sentence was rebuffed by Leitman as well, with the judge noting that the federal appeals court concluded that “Boucher’s sentence was not ‘perfectly legal’ and that it was, instead, ‘substantively unreasonable.’ ”
“That Boucher’s double jeopardy arguments rest upon an inaccurate characterization of his original sentence is another reason that the court cannot accept them,” Leitman said in his ruling.
A federal district court judge based in Michigan, Leitman was appointed to preside over Boucher’s case as special judge after Battani, another federal district court judge from Michigan, stepped away from her duties following a cancer diagnosis.
Shepard, an Indiana-based federal prosecutor, filed a memorandum Monday indicating that he will seek a 21-month prison term for Boucher, the same penalty that had been sought prior to the appeal.