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June 15, 2018

Any predictions on sentencing day for Senator Rand Paul's attacker? UPDATE: Boucher got 30 days in jail and 100 hours community service

Friday finally brings judgment day for Dr. Rene Boucher, the neighbor of Senator Rand Paul, who strangely decided to violently tackle Senator Paul while he was mowing his lawn last fall.  As reported in this local article, headlined "Defense attorney in Paul tackling case makes pitch for probation," the defendant is hoping to avoid any period of incarceration:

Dr. Rene Boucher, who admitted guilt to a federal crime in a case involving the tackling of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul outside the lawmaker’s home, has formally requested to be placed on probation. Attorney Matt Baker, representing Boucher, filed a 10-page memorandum [last] Friday in U.S. District Court arguing that incarceration for the retired physician would serve no useful purpose.

Boucher, 60, pleaded guilty in March to a count of assaulting a member of Congress resulting in personal injury. His sentencing, before Special Judge Marianne Battani, is set for June 15.

Special Prosecutor Bradley Shepard has recommended a 21-month prison sentence for Boucher, but Baker argues probation is more appropriate “based upon the rather unique nature of the offense” and several extenuating circumstances. “Other than the isolated incident that is in issue, Dr. Boucher has been a pillar of his community, a solid citizen, a family man and a devout Christian,” Baker stated in his memorandum, which also stressed Boucher’s lack of a criminal history and his service in the U.S. Army and in the community as a physician.

A neck injury sustained in a bicycle accident forced Boucher, a specialist in pain management and anesthesiology, to retire from practicing medicine, according to court records. Accompanying the sentencing memorandum are 14 letters supporting Boucher and extolling his character.

Baker’s filing offers context into what led to the Nov. 3 incident in the Rivergreen subdivision, where Paul and Boucher are neighbors. On that date, Paul was tackled outside his residence while doing yardwork. Boucher told law enforcement that he ran onto the senator’s property and tackled Paul after he witnessed Paul stack brush on top of a pile near Boucher’s property.

Baker’s filing makes the case that the roots of the tackling incident could be traced to summer 2017, when Boucher trimmed the limbs on a few maple trees on the property line dividing the Boucher and Paul properties....

The memorandum filed Friday quotes what Baker said is a victim impact statement from Paul filed May 21 in which the senator says he “can only assume that (Boucher’s) deep-seated anger towards me co-mingles with his hatred of my political policies” and states that Boucher must be suffering from a “personality disorder, substance abuse, intense political hatred or all of the above.”

Baker called those allegations “completely unfounded.” “Dr. Boucher has adamantly denied any such political motivations throughout, as even the suggestion of them is completely unfounded and simply not true,” Baker said.

In an emailed statement to the Daily News on Tuesday, Paul's communications director, Kelsey Cooper, took issue with some of Baker's characterizations of the neighbors' relationship. "Before Senator Paul was violently attacked from behind, he had no conversations or discussions with the attacker," Cooper wrote. "There was no 'longstanding dispute.' This description is untrue. It is impossible to have a dispute when no words of disagreement were ever spoken – neither immediately nor at any other time before the attack occurred. In the decade prior to the attack, Senator Paul had no contact with the attacker.

"The attack was a pre-meditated assault that broke six of the Senator’s ribs and was complicated by fluid and blood around the lung and recurrent pneumonia. Any description of this attack that implies a 'yard dispute' justifies such violence and misses the point."

I am inclined to predict that Boucher will get some period of incarceration, but less than the 21 months sought by federal prosecutors.  I will guess the term will be somewhere between six months and a year-and-a-day.  But this really a guess, especially given that I have not been able to find a copy of the sentencing filings available on-line, nor have I seen any guideline calculations.

In this prior post about this case, I encouraged readers to suggest what sentence they thought fitting for Senator Rand Paul's attacker. I welcome additional comments on what folks think Boucher will and should get.

Prior related post:

UPDATE: This press piece reports on the sentencing outcome, and starts this way:

The neighbor who admitted to attacking U.S. Senator Rand Paul outside his home last fall was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Bowling Green to 30 days in jail. Rene Boucher was also ordered to serve one year of supervised release, perform 100 hours of community service, and have no intentional contact with the Paul family.

Boucher addressed the court and offered an apology to the Republican lawmaker who sustained broken ribs and other injuries after being tackled from behind while mowing his lawn on November 3. "What I did was wrong and I hope he and his family can one day accept my apology," Boucher said.

Boucher, who pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress, expressed embarrassment and described the last seven months as a "nightmare." The 60-year-old retired anesthesiologist said he lost his temper over repeated piles of debris on the property line between his home and Paul's in the upscale Rivergreen subdivision in Bowling Green.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Brad Shepherd asked the judge for a 21-month prison term, arguing that Boucher didn't simply lose his temper. "This was a vicious, unprovoked assault," Shepherd said.

June 15, 2018 at 12:05 AM | Permalink


"...tackled Paul after he witnessed Paul stack brush on top of a pile near Boucher’s property."

The defendant has mental problems. The above "damage" caused by Paul justifies a friendly discussion, or at worst a report to the Zoning Board or civil litigation. Given the injuries, this assault was more like an attempted murder.

The defendant needs an evaluation, perhaps for a concussion or for early dementia. If whatever the condition does not get treated, he should remain in prison for several years.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 15, 2018 8:11:29 AM

This case shows one of the problems with special victim statutes that base punishment on a victim's status. Other than the spin from Senator Paul's office, I am unaware of any evidence that this attack arose from Senator Paul's status as a member of the Senate.

Taking away the special victim status, the tackling would at most support a finding that the defendant recklessly caused serious physical injury. In most counties in my state, given defendant's background, age, and lack of criminal history, most judges would grant probation, maybe with some shock time, anger management classes, and mental health evaluation.

Posted by: tmm | Jun 15, 2018 11:59:54 AM

What was the motive behind the attack against Senator Paul? Do they know?

Posted by: william r. delzell | Jun 15, 2018 12:10:21 PM

In addition to special victim status, I quarrel with federal jurisdiction at all. What, pray tell, is the overweening federal interest in this? I submit that it is bupkis, zilch, zero, nada.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 15, 2018 12:43:29 PM

Everybody knows your not to beatup anyone and do anything to a federal official or employee on duty.

With that said, Paul is just a man, got roughed up barely, the attacker is 60 yrs old with no apparent criminal history.

If this was a state level charge he would get probation and anger managemeny

But its federal, so he will get 1 yr and 1 day, maximum sentence us my guess. 2 yrs supervised release. The good Dr will love his trip Im sure.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jun 15, 2018 11:41:39 PM

Paul's injuries sound pretty severe.


In light of that, the actual 30 days in jail seem awfully light.

I would think 3 months would be about right IF the motive was not related to Paul's position in Congress. If it was so related, maybe 6 months. An assault on someone for their official acts is an assault on our government itself and needs to be treated as such.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Jun 16, 2018 9:43:17 AM

Looking at the prior, I see I said 9 months the first time around. I think I was right the first time. Those injuries are no joke.

Posted by: William Jockusch | Jun 16, 2018 9:46:25 AM

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