Feb 13, 2013, 9:06 AM EDT
Barry Bonds lawyers will head into court today to argue his appeal of his obstruction of justice conviction today. There will be no decision today because that’s not how appellate courts roll, but when you read the Bonds headlines later, that’s what it’s about.
To review: Bonds was acquitted on all counts of perjury, but convicted for obstruction of justice. The basis for that conviction: a rambling answer to a question about whether anyone besides team doctors ever injected him with anything. His initial answer was something incoherent about being a “celebrity child.” Prosecutors and the jury say that that answer was “intentionally false, misleading and evasive.”
What no one ever seems to mention, though, is that Bonds actually answered the question:
As I’ve said before: maybe that “no” is lie. Probably is in fact. But the jury didn’t agree, acquitting him on that very question with respect to the perjury count. No, the prosecution claimed, and the jury agreed, that the question was not answered. That Bonds “misled and evaded” the grand jury.
The prosecution can say that all it wants — and maybe the appeals court will uphold the conviction because courts hate overturning jury verdicts as a general rule — but the fact is, Bonds was asked a yes or no question and he answered “no.” He rambled for a minute, just as every single witness in every single deposition or grand jury hearing in the history of Anglo-American jurisprudence has done. But he answered the question. Even the jurors, interviewed after the trial, agreed that he did and questioned their conviction of him. “Wolfram” was one of the jurors:
Wolfram, 25, who works with developmentally disabled adults in Concord, Calif., said four of the jurors were unsure of the wording of that charge in the first place. She said she and those other jurors noticed that Bonds in his grand jury testimony eventually answered whether Anderson had ever injected him. But he did so a few pages later in his testimony, Wolfram said, not in the section mentioned in the charge. She said she and the other three jurors thought Bonds should not be convicted if he ultimately answered the question.
Wolfram said later, however, that they felt they had no choice because the jury instructions — authored by the prosecution — forbade them from looking at his “no, no” answer a page or two after the question was initially asked. To repeat: The prosecution, via the judge’s approval of their jury instruction, specifically told the jury TO NOT LOOK AT THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION. That is the legal basis of the appeal, by the way: bad jury instruction that all but required a guilty verdict, regardless of the actual facts.
Whatever the case, how all this constitutes obstruction of justice is utterly baffling to me still, a decade after he answered the question. Courts and common sense agree: It is not the job of the criminal justice system to punish an evasive or non-responsive witness. It is the job of the person asking the question to pin an evasive witness down. Here the lawyer in question didn’t do that, but either way, the question was ultimately answered.
Anyway, it’s now up to the Court of Appeals to explain how that constituted obstruction. I’m quite eager to hear how it does. And if it does, I’m quite eager to see if prosecutors start adding obstruction of justice counts to every single case on every single docket in the American judicial system. Because on this rationale, they most certainly could.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:31 PM EDT
Drip . . . drip . . . drip . . .
Jul 31, 2014, 2:21 PM EDT
A lefty masher is having a down year, but he can help out in Seattle.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT
Recapping all of Thursday’s dealings in one spot.
Jul 31, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT
Parra’s offensive production has dropped off this season, falling about 50 points compared to his career norms, but he remains an excellent defensive corner outfielder capable of handling center field if needed.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT
Tea leaves are fun.
Jul 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
Not satisfied with adding Justin Masterson to the rotation yesterday, the Cardinals have added another veteran starter by acquiring John Lackey from the Red Sox. And, much like Boston’s deal to get Yoenis Cespedes from Oakland for Jon Lester, the Red Sox have prioritized the present by getting veterans Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in exchange.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT
Seems that Gomes knows more about team chemistry than the people who hold him up as a paragon of good chemistry.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT
Because the Dodgers can apparently never have too many current and former closers in the bullpen, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that they’re “trying hard” to acquire Joaquin Benoit from the Padres.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT
It’s a win-win from where I’m sitting. In my basement studio. With shorts on beneath the suit jacket, even if I’m trying to look like I’m in an office.
Jul 31, 2014, 12:16 PM EDT
San Francisco released reliever Dan Runzler from Triple-A so that he can sign with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, according to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT
Joe Saunders has been released from Triple-A by the Royals, who’re the fourth organization to cut bait on the veteran left-hander this season.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:32 AM EDT
I never understand the Royals.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:13 AM EDT
Tommy Milone was the odd man out in the A’s rotation before today, so there was really no place for him in Oakland following the Jon Lester trade.
Jul 31, 2014, 11:12 AM EDT
Because, if you haven’t noticed, they have not sewn up the AL West yet.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT
Harvey was selected for the Futures Games as a 19-year-old and started 17 games at low Single-A with a 3.18 ERA and 106/33 K/BB ratio in 88 innings.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT
The Sox did not get hosed here. Don’t believe that for a second.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT
Emilio Bonifacio was available to the Cubs on a minor-league deal after being released by the Royals in February and now five months later they’re going to get something in return for the 29-year-old speedster.
Jul 31, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT
We didn’t see this coming!
Jul 31, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT
It just gets more complicated to make a trade after 4pm today.
Jul 31, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT
It was quite a tribute to Greg Maddux, actually.
- 2014 Trade Deadline Tracker 18
- Red Sox trade John Lackey to Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly 81
- The Lester trade is a win-win 107
- BLOCKBUSTER: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes 162
- The State of the Trade Deadline: Yesterday was pretty sleepy. Will general managers wake up today? 40
- Cardinals acquire Justin Masterson from Indians 49
- There’s a “very good chance” the Red Sox trade Lackey and Lester 53
- Hey, Rube: Phillies pay dearly for Amaro’s misguided loyalty 92
- Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams (201)
- “Caucasians” t-shirts are hot sellers on Canadian Indian reservations (199)
- BLOCKBUSTER: Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes heading to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes (162)
- Rangers’ retirement gifts for Derek Jeter: Yankees cowboy boots, signed George W. Bush photo (123)
- The Lester trade is a win-win (108)