FRANKFORT -- A federal appeals court on Monday vacated what it called a "well-below-guidelines" prison sentence for the man who tackled Sen. Rand Paul outside his Kentucky home, ordering a resentencing for the attack that broke the lawmaker's ribs.
The three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it found "no compelling justification" for Rene Boucher's 30-day sentence.
The ruling came in response to an appeal by federal prosecutors who had argued that 21 months would have been more appropriate. The appeals court took no position on an appropriate sentence, saying the federal district court judge retains "ample discretion."
The Republican senator was tackled by Boucher in late 2017 when Paul's then-neighbor became angry over lawn maintenance at the senator's home.
The attack broke several of Paul's ribs, damaged a lung and led to bouts of pneumonia. Part of his damaged lung was removed in a recent surgery. Earlier this year, Paul had hernia surgery in another procedure connected to the assault.
Boucher pleaded guilty to assaulting a member of Congress and served his 30-day sentence at a federal prison in Illinois.
"We believe that the trial judge got it right the first time," Boucher's attorney, Matt Baker, said by phone Monday. "And now it looks like we're going to be back at square one with regard to sentencing. It's just very disappointing to have gone through this entire process and to have come full circle."
Baker said he's considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Paul's office did not immediately comment on Monday's ruling. Prosecutors involved in the appeal did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.
Paul sued Boucher, and a jury in Bowling Green awarded the lawmaker and former presidential candidate more than $580,000 in damages and medical expenses.