Word of the day: mine-run

Senior district judge Marianne O. Battani sentenced Rand Paul’s attacker, one Rene Boucher, to imprisonment for 30 days. Sentencing guidelines prescribed a 21-27 month sentencing range. Recalling the severe injuries sustained by Senator Paul, one wonders how Judge Battani came up with a 30-day sentence. So did the government. The government appealed Judge Battani’s sentence to the Sixth Circuit.

Yesterday the Sixth Circuit vacated Boucher’s sentence and returned the case to the district court for resentencing. Here is the introductory paragraph of the Sixth Circuit opinion (embedded below):

Senator Rand Paul was mowing his lawn when he stopped to gather a few limbs in his path. Without warning, Rene Boucher—Paul’s next-door neighbor, whom he had not spoken with in years—raced toward Paul and attacked him from behind. The impact broke six of Paul’s ribs, caused long-lasting damage to his lung, and led to several bouts of pneumonia. Boucher later pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 351(e). Although his Guidelines sentencing range was 21 to 27 months in prison, the district court sentenced him to 30 days’ imprisonment. On appeal, the Government argues that Boucher’s sentence was substantively unreasonable. We agree and therefore VACATE his sentence and REMAND for resentencing.

The opinion goes on for 16 pages, but this is the heart of it. It tells you just about all you need to know about the case.

I have read several accounts of the Sixth Circuit opinion in the news. Only one — the AP story — names Judge Battani. Her sentence of Boucher reeks. She deserves to be named and shamed.

The Sixth Circuit refers repeatedly to the Boucher assault as presenting “a mine-run” (i.e., “a product of common or average grade”) case. That is a word with which I was previously unfamiliar. The Supreme Court seems to have introduced it in this context in cases such as Kimbrough, cited by the Sixth Circuit in its Boucher opinion. I take it that Judge Battani is a somewhat less than mine-run judge.

US v. Boucher (6th Cir. 2019) by Scott Johnson on Scribd