Barry Bonds loses appeal

mabrowndog

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Federal appeals court upholds verdict
 
 
A federal appeals court on Friday upheld former Giants slugger Barry Bonds' obstruction-of-justice conviction stemming from rambling testimony he gave during a 2003 appearance before a grand jury investigating elite athletes' use of performance-enhancing drugs.
 
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Bonds' testimony was "evasive" and capable of misleading investigators and hindering their probe into a performance-enhancing-drug ring centered at the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, better known as BALCO.
 
Like several other prominent athletes who testified before the grand jury, Bonds was granted immunity from criminal prosecution as long as he testified truthfully.
 
But after Bonds repeatedly denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs - he testified he thought he was taking flax seed oil and other legal supplements - prosecutors charged him with obstruction and with making false statements.
 
A jury convicted Bonds of a single felony count of obstruction, stemming from when he was called before the grand jury in San Francisco in December 2003. Bonds was asked whether his trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever injected him with a substance, and he replied by discussing the difficulties of being the son of a famous father. Bonds' father is former major leaguer Bobby Bonds.
 
The jury deadlocked on three other counts that Bonds made false statements stemming from his denial that he knowingly used drugs, and those charges were later dismissed.
 
But it's not a done deal yet...
 
 
Bonds could ask the same three-judge panel to reconsider its decision, ask a special 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit to take on the case, or petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear his appeal.
 
If all those avenues are unsuccessful...
 
 
If Bonds' conviction stands, he will have to serve the 30 days of house arrest and two years of probation he was sentenced to after his 2011 trial. Prosecutors had sought a 15-month prison sentence.
 
Barry Bonds: Convicted Felon has a nice ring to it.
 

WayBackVazquez

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It's basically a done deal. He won't bother filing a petition for rehearing with the three-judge panel or with the 11-judge en banc panel, since there was no dissent. Getting a Ninth Circuit en banc rehearing is pretty much rarer than having the Supreme Court grant cert and hear your case. There are about 15,000 appeals in the Ninth Circuit every year, and thus far this year there have been I think 12 grants of en banc rehearing.
 
Supreme Court review, aside from being generally a long shot, seems unlikely here because I assume we would have heard about a circuit split. But I imagine they'll go through the motions and file a petition.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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PC Drunken Friar said:
Yup. Complete waste of time and money. He is the best player I will ever see.
 
I'd tell you to suck my dick, but the point wouldn't get across.
 
So...suck Pedro's dick.
 

Van Everyman

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You guys are right. We should just let athletes use illegal drugs and champion it even. It's a win win for everybody.
 

LuckyBen

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I still think it's total fucking bullshit that they went after him in the first place. And all you people who are happy about this? Fuck you too.
. Yeah, what's wrong with lying on the stand, America!
 

LuckyBen

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Lying on the stand? He wasn't convicted of perjury.
that doesn't mean he's not a lying sack of shit who DID lie on the stand.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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LuckyBen said:
that doesn't mean he's not a lying sack of shit who DID lie on the stand.
 
The fact that he was up on the stand in the first place is complete bullshit.  The Barry Bonds hate is misplaced.  But don't let that stop you from taking the bait from the duplicitous MLB owners and their "dentists".   Its what they want from you - concentrate your hate on a few select targets so you take your eye off the bigger picture.  Its straight out of leadership 101.
 
Bonds was a transcendental talent who didn't need to use PEDs but did so, essentially to keep up with baseball's equivalent of the Jonses.  He was also an allegedly a difficult person in that he wasn't press, teammate or fan friendly.  So MLB, after celebrating his astounding feats for more than two decades, made him THE poster boy for PEDs. 
 
However, this doesn't change the fact that the guy was the best baseball player on the planet for about 15 years running.    And most of it was true talent and hard work rather than performance enhancement.  
 
Go ahead and hate him.  However you should know that, unless he did run over your child, its largely irrational and hypocritical.
 

URI

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I guess it is, since you both like pro football.
 
That doesn't count because of bunnies with pancakes on their heads.
 

glennhoffmania

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
 
  
 
Go ahead and hate him.  However you should know that, unless he did run over your child, its largely irrational and hypocritical.
 
Why is anyone who doesn't like Bonds automatically deemed irrational and hypocritical?  Why is your opinion rational but someone else's is bullshit?  I didn't realize that fans' feelings about a professional athlete are now objective instead of subjective.
 
Bonds is/was a lying, cheating asshole.  Just because he isn't the only person who can be described as such doesn't mean that anyone who dislikes him is wrong.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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glennhoffmania said:
 
Why is anyone who doesn't like Bonds automatically deemed irrational and hypocritical?  Why is your opinion rational but someone else's is bullshit?  I didn't realize that fans' feelings about a professional athlete are now objective instead of subjective.
 
Bonds is/was a lying, cheating asshole.  Just because he isn't the only person who can be described as such doesn't mean that anyone who dislikes him is wrong.
 
Have you met Barry Bonds?  Do you know this to be true?  There are clearly stories and they aren't good (especially about the alleged abuse of his girlfriend etc). That said, are you very confident that you know enough about the guy to judge him?
 
The fact is that people tend to judge professional athletes based on scant and often biased information.  People on this site love Dustin Pedroia but do we really know that he isn't an asshole?  What about David Ortiz?  Or Pedro Martinez?  I bet if you searched around, you could find plenty of people who have met "well-liked" athletes who might have stories that portray them in less than flattering fashion.    
 
The truth is, we admire athletes based largely on their accomplishments and their efforts.  While some of the personal appeal of guys is undeniable, some of it is projected as well.    Pedroia wouldn't be as endearing as a cocky little guy (at least that is part of his public image) if he OPS'd at a six handle.   And Pedro wouldn't be as beloved if he had pitched aggressively inside but failed to get guys out like he did.   
 
Finally, is Bonds really a cheater if many of his contemporaries, including some of your beloved hometown heroes also used the same PEDs to get the same edge?  
 

Lose Remerswaal

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
 

 
Finally, is Bonds really a cheater if many of his contemporaries, including some of your beloved hometown heroes also used the same PEDs to get the same edge?  
 
Ahh, a question I can answer.
 
Yes.
 
If he cheated, that makes him a cheater.  Even if everyone else cheated.  That makes them cheaters, too.
 
I hope this helps.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Lose Remerswaal said:
 
Ahh, a question I can answer.
 
Yes.
 
If he cheated, that makes him a cheater.  Even if everyone else cheated.  That makes them cheaters, too.
 
I hope this helps.
 
If the behavior is effectively sanctioned by the sport, is it still cheating though? 
 

Van Everyman

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Lying on the stand? He wasn't convicted of perjury.

Because being convicted of being evasive on the stand to mislead investigators is so different.

The whole "you go after Athlete X who only harmed himself and let Criminal Y who killed people off the hook" argument is annoying and stupid. These guys were allegedly involved in an illegal operation. That's a crime and should be. That they were convicted of obstructing an investigation into the crime—not the crime itself—is also a crime – and also should be. It is unfortunate that these players have marketable skills such as hitting the ball really far or throwing it really fast. That doesn't change the fact that they were involved in a crime worthy of punishment.

Also, the people who are involved in steroid trade make Breaking Bad characters look like the Founding Fathers by comparison. These are loathsome people. Just ask Jared Remy. Or read Game of Shadows.

I have yet to hear a single defensible argument that these cases shouldn't be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
 

Rovin Romine

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Van Everyman said:
Because being convicted of being evasive on the stand to mislead investigators is so different.

The whole "you go after Athlete X who only harmed himself and let Criminal Y who killed people off the hook" argument is annoying and stupid. These guys were allegedly involved in an illegal operation. That's a crime and should be. That they were convicted of obstructing an investigation into the crime—not the crime itself—is also a crime – and also should be. It is unfortunate that these players have marketable skills such as hitting the ball really far or throwing it really fast. That doesn't change the fact that they were involved in a crime worthy of punishment.

Also, the people who are involved in steroid trade make Breaking Bad characters look like the Founding Fathers by comparison. These are loathsome people. Just ask Jared Remy. Or read Game of Shadows.

I have yet to hear a single defensible argument that these cases shouldn't be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
 
But. . .but. . .but. . .what if he's got like a totally awesome skill?  Like he's a master tiddlywinks player or something?  Don't we get to make a special exception for guys like that?
 
And what if I've bought memorabilia?
 

LuckyBen

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I have to say, through this thread I am a changed man. Armstrong? Keeping up with the joneses. Those Damn French trying to keep us down. Arod? Once in a generation talent, doesn't deserve to be suspended. Might of been a better ball player than Bonds at his peak!
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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LuckyBen said:
I have to say, through this thread I am a changed man. Armstrong? Keeping up with the joneses. Those Damn French trying to keep us down. Arod? Once in a generation talent, doesn't deserve to be suspended. Might of been a better ball player than Bonds at his peak!
 
Its nice to have your head in the sand.  It makes things all nice and simple.  
 
To be clear, I don't think Barry Bonds is up for a humanitarian award but he and the other PED users were trotted out by MLB as their marquee players and fawned on by media and fans.  When it became clear that some in the press were actually asking questions about why players were bigger, stronger, recovering from injuries or defying age differently than the past, everyone ran in other direction.   
 
Barry Bonds is probably not innocent of a lot of things.  But he also shouldn't be the one guy who seems to bear the brunt of the PED era.  That should fall on Selig et al who absolutely had to know what they had on their hands and half-assed their "solution" while hanging out the players to dry.  
 

Fred not Lynn

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Ahh, a question I can answer.
 
Yes.
 
If he cheated, that makes him a cheater.  Even if everyone else cheated.  That makes them cheaters, too.
 
I hope this helps.


Well, he is a cheater if he broke the rules, so before deciding if he was a cheater you have to figure out what the rules were when he allegedly broke them.
 

gaelgirl

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Van Everyman said:
Because being convicted of being evasive on the stand to mislead investigators is so different.

The whole "you go after Athlete X who only harmed himself and let Criminal Y who killed people off the hook" argument is annoying and stupid. These guys were allegedly involved in an illegal operation. That's a crime and should be. That they were convicted of obstructing an investigation into the crime—not the crime itself—is also a crime – and also should be. It is unfortunate that these players have marketable skills such as hitting the ball really far or throwing it really fast. That doesn't change the fact that they were involved in a crime worthy of punishment.

Also, the people who are involved in steroid trade make Breaking Bad characters look like the Founding Fathers by comparison. These are loathsome people. Just ask Jared Remy. Or read Game of Shadows.

I have yet to hear a single defensible argument that these cases shouldn't be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
 
Well, just from a financial/allocation of resources standpoint, if the cases are going to take over a decade to complete, cost millions and millions of dollars and the end result is a single, somewhat minor conviction that carries a sentence of 30 days of home detention and a fine, I am not sure it is worth the government's time and money to prosecute these people. Also, I am not sure the public is safer now that Barry Bonds will be chilling at home for a month than they would have been if the Ninth Circuit overturned the conviction and Bonds was free to roam the streets. These aren't particularly awesome reasons from a "let's get all the crooks!!" standpoint, but they're practical.
 
Somewhere, there's a rape or child molestation case that isn't going to be prosecuted because the government doesn't have the resources to investigate and prosecute the criminal. You may find that line of argument annoying and stupid, but I find it annoying and stupid that so many resources were thrown at an extremely low-level crime when there are many, many, many cases involving truly hideous people that aren't getting the proper attention because of time and financial constraints. There are almost certainly people out there who are perjuring themselves and obstructing justice so violent criminals can go free. Those people are mostly not going to be punished because, again, the government doesn't have the time, money or resources to investigate and prosecute them for their crimes... mostly because they're trying to get the violent criminal before he or she hurts someone else. That is truly offensive to me. 
 
Before you go off on the high horse of, "What? The government is supposed to just let criminals go free then?" They do it all the time. Every day, police, district attorneys and investigators have to judge the merits of a case and their resources and decide whether or not they should proceed. That may mean the people who stole your iPhone from your car are never, ever going to be found because nobody bothered to even look for them. That may mean that the date rapist next door has a police report filed about the crime and a cursory interview, but the DA declines to go further (too bad your daughter has a date with him next week, right?). It may mean that the woman lying to the court that her boyfriend couldn't possibly have beaten that guy up because he was at home with her (even though her friends have pictures of her out at the bar that night) is never going to be charged with perjury or obstruction of justice. 
 
So, when the government was looking over this case and making their own decision, a very strong, very reasonable argument could have been made that the possible end result wasn't worth the time, money and resources that would be needed to create that result. They certainly have made that decision hundreds of times since then. 
 
Also, I don't think Barry Bonds was one of the loathsome Breaking Bad-level people of which you speak. I guess maybe it's sort of remotely possible? Really, though, it's unlikely. But if the government's goal was to convict those people who were manufacturing and distributing steroids to people, they successfully did that long before they prosecuted Barry Bonds. It's not like Barry was the sole witness to this whole thing and his rambling answers destroyed the entire years-long investigation and nobody was convicted for anything. That doesn't negate that Bonds also committed the crime of obstruction of justice, but, again, if your goal was to punish the loathsome people of the steroid trade, that was done. They've served their time, were released and moved on with their lives (years and years ago, actually).
 

glennhoffmania

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod said:
 
Have you met Barry Bonds?  Do you know this to be true?  There are clearly stories and they aren't good (especially about the alleged abuse of his girlfriend etc). That said, are you very confident that you know enough about the guy to judge him?
 
The fact is that people tend to judge professional athletes based on scant and often biased information.  People on this site love Dustin Pedroia but do we really know that he isn't an asshole?  What about David Ortiz?  Or Pedro Martinez?  I bet if you searched around, you could find plenty of people who have met "well-liked" athletes who might have stories that portray them in less than flattering fashion.    
 
The truth is, we admire athletes based largely on their accomplishments and their efforts.  While some of the personal appeal of guys is undeniable, some of it is projected as well.    Pedroia wouldn't be as endearing as a cocky little guy (at least that is part of his public image) if he OPS'd at a six handle.   And Pedro wouldn't be as beloved if he had pitched aggressively inside but failed to get guys out like he did.   
 
Finally, is Bonds really a cheater if many of his contemporaries, including some of your beloved hometown heroes also used the same PEDs to get the same edge?  
 
You basically answered your own question.  People will judge celebrities based on what they see them do in public.  The whole thing is subjective.  Your point was that anyone who dislikes him is being irrational.  That's your opinion as opposed to some objective fact.  Whether Bonds cheated can be proven or not.  Whether he's an asshole seems like something that people can judge for themselves.  All I know is there seems to be a decent amount of evidence to suggest that he is in fact an asshole.
 

Rovin Romine

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I make "resource" arguments all the time, so I'm usually partial to them.  I can't say it makes a lot of sense to spend the time and money on the next 25 Barry Bonds type cases (all things being equal.)
 
On the other hand, there is value to letting people know that "X is a crime" - it may not be a "deterrent value," meaning it may not discourage people from doing it, but even if it does not, the prosecution does raise awareness somewhat. 
 
There's also some value to letting people know that no matter what your celebrity status, and no matter what public/future monetary ambitions you have due to your celebrity, you still need to tell the truth under oath and/or cooperate with investigations. I'd rather live in a country where one rule applies to all. 
 
So perhaps there's value to this outside the context "PED use."  I don't know if that value changes (one way or the other) with repeated prosecutions though.
 
(I don't know, and don't think anyone can say for sure - just putting it out there.)
 
Beyond that though, I have to believe there *is* value in having a government that might prosecute any given crime on it's books, rather than basically conceding it will only prosecute some "serious" crimes and never prosecute "less serious" crimes.
 
***
In terms of your other examples about the criminal justice system, yes, there are some pretty big problems with the system.  However, "serious" crimes with actual victims tends to get investigated fully, if not prosecuted.  (District Attorneys like to keep their jobs and hate bad headlines.)  Sometimes the evidence in any given case does not warrant a prosecution (i.e., the state declines to prosecute because it's clearly a 50-50 case with no tiebreaker in sight - hence a more or less guaranteed not-guilty at trial), but that kind of decision is usually based on "what the facts of the case are" and not a cynical call made by the state to stiff the victim of a legitimate crime so they can conserve resources. 
 

gaelgirl

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RR--That was a very, very reasonable and well-argued response to a somewhat hyperactive and perhaps overly-emotional post. Thanks for that. 
 
I agree with you that there is value in having a government that might prosecute any given crime, I just think in reality there are way too many crimes being committed to actually carry that out. 
 

WayBackVazquez

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WayBackVazquez said:
It's basically a done deal. He won't bother filing a petition for rehearing with the three-judge panel or with the 11-judge en banc panel, since there was no dissent. Getting a Ninth Circuit en banc rehearing is pretty much rarer than having the Supreme Court grant cert and hear your case. There are about 15,000 appeals in the Ninth Circuit every year, and thus far this year there have been I think 12 grants of en banc rehearing.
 
Supreme Court review, aside from being generally a long shot, seems unlikely here because I assume we would have heard about a circuit split. But I imagine they'll go through the motions and file a petition.
 
I posted this in V&N, but Barry bucked the odds, big time. The Ninth Circuit has voted to rehear his appeal en banc. Now the odds tilt sharply in his favor. The vote means a majority of the active judges (so at least 15) in the court of appeals voted to rehear his case, which usually, though not always, means they are inclined to change course from the original panel's decision. There's still an element of luck involved, because other than Chief Judge Kozinski, the other 10 judges on the new panel are randomly selected. So, for example, the en banc vote could have been 15-14, but he could theoretically get 11 of the 14 who were against him on the new  panel.
 
Oral argument will be in San Francisco the week of September 15.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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 the court reamed the prosecutors, demonstrating skepticism to the point of being dumbfounded that a person could be convicted of obstruction of justice on the basis which Bonds was convicted.
 
The court asked all manner of questions of the prosecution about how Bonds’ answer to a question about steroid use which he (a) actually answered;  and (b) was found by the jury to have answered truthfully, could be obstruction. They also excoriated the prosecution over the fact that Bonds’ allegedly obstructing statement wasn’t even set forth in his indictment and that the instruction the jury was forced to follow on the matter essentially mandated that Bonds be convicted no matter what he said. Put as plainly as possible: the jury wasn’t allowed to actually see that Bonds, you know, answered the question.
 
 
Yeah, so after all that time and money, the only thing he was convicted of is going to be overturned because it was a sham to begin with. Meanwhile, a guy who had an OPS of 1.045 in 2007 couldn't find a job the following year. Awesome.
 

mauidano

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Amazing what a good team of lawyers can do. He's still a cheater, a liar with little credibility and no chance at the Hall of Fame any time soon. So yeah, he won't have to sit in his mansion for 30 days.
 

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mauidano said:
Amazing what a good team of lawyers can do. He's still a cheater, a liar with little credibility and no chance at the Hall of Fame any time soon. So yeah, he won't have to sit in his mansion for 30 days.
 
Did you actually read any of the stories about the obvious (and clearly fatal) flaws in the case?  Or is this just your "hot take?"
 
The fact that Bonds was a cheater and (if media accounts are accurate) a fairly reprehensible person may be enough to keep him out of the Hall of Fame, but it does not justify his conviction.  This wasn't a case of "good lawyering."  The case against him was revealed to be a legal sham at his trial and he should never have been convicted in the first place.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Feds won't pursue the case after Bonds got the whole fuckin' boondoggle thrown out.
 
The U.S. Department of Justice formally dropped its criminal prosecution of Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball's career homerun leader.
The decade-long investigation and prosecution of Bonds for obstruction of justice ended quietly Tuesday morning when the DOJ said it would not challenge the reversal of his felony conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court.