Appeals in the criminal justice system aren’t really rare, but most of those come from the defendant appealing something. What is a bit rarer is the prosecution appealing a sentence. One recent case out of Kentucky is proving to be interesting to follow, partially due to an appeal by the federal government.
The case stems around the assault of U.S. Senator Rand Paul by his 60-year-old neighbor. The man was charged with assault of a member of Congress and ultimately pleaded guilty as part of a plea agreement.
The plea agreement, according to a motion filed by the defense attorney, meant that the prosecutor would accept any sentence the judge imposed. It cites emails in which the government agreed to recommend a low-end sentence for the man and that the defense attorney could also recommend any sentence within the guidelines for the charge.
The judge presiding over the case determined that the assault wasn’t politically motivated. The information pertaining to the case noted that it was due to a dispute over the placement of yard debris. As a result of the lack of criminal history and her belief about the motivation, the judge imposed a 3-day incarceration hearing. Apparently, this didn’t please the prosecutor, who has since appealed the sentence.
The case will be heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The defense attorney notes that by appealing the sentence, the prosecutor hasn’t complied with the plea agreement terms. He has moved to have the case dismissed.
While this isn’t a normal course of action for a criminal case, it is a reminder that defendants should take the time to explore all possible outcomes for their criminal cases. Doing so can help determine the defense strategies to employ.