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Barry Bonds loses his appeal, faces 30 days home confinement

Sep 13, 2013, 5:31 PM EDT

Barry Bonds Convicted Of One Count Of Obstruction Of Justice Getty Images

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Barry Bonds’ criminal conviction for obstruction of justice today. While he could potentially appeal again to the Supreme Court such appeals are rarely if ever granted. This is probably it for him, and he’ll likely soon have to serve his 30 day home confinement sentence.

In denying the appeal, the court ruled that the statement Bonds gave to grand jurors in response to a question about whether he was ever given injections of any kind by Greg Anderson “served to divert the grand jury’s attention away from the relevant inquiry of the investigation, which was Anderson and BALCO’s distribution of steroids and PEDs. The statement was therefore evasive.”

As I’ve noted several times, however, the verdict on this question, and now this ruling from the appeals court, is bizarre. Bonds was asked a yes or no question. He went off on a tangent for a bit, but then the prosecutor led Bonds back to the subject at hand. Here was his answer:


Did he evade? He tried to, sure. For a few seconds. And then he answered “no.” How this misled anyone or how this was any different than thousands of question/answer exchanges in grand jury testimony is beyond me.

It’s beyond the jurors too, as four of them said after the trial that they felt compelled to give this verdict despite the fact that Bonds answered the question and that they were deeply uncomfortable with that. So why did they do it? Because the prosecutor’s jury instruction adopted by the judge prohibited them from looking at the part of the testimony where Bonds answered the question. Which is just dumb. A man was convicted of evading a question that he did not, in fact, evade. And the jurors were prevented from considering the fact that he answered the question in determining his guilt. They were directed to only look at the small part of his testimony where he did, for a moment, go off-topic.

Bonds probably lied elsewhere in his testimony, but those lies weren’t the subject of the count on which he was convicted or this appeal. Indeed, he was acquitted of lying in those instances. It was only about this bit. And in this bit, Bonds answered the question asked. Now he’s got a criminal record for it.

You may like that if you don’t like Barry Bonds. Or if you think that, since he likely skated free on charges he was likely guilty of, it’s OK to get him on a charge he isn’t guilty of. But it’s not justice and it’s not right.

  1. duvisited - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    That’s guilty! Guilty, guilty, guilty!

  2. pinkfloydprism - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    No…not 30 days home confinement for a mutli-millionaire with everything he ever wanted… boy, that is harsh.

    • rbj1 - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      And how is a guy who only made $188 million in his career going to earn a living?

    • jkcalhoun - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      You forgot to mention that as a convicted felon he is now ineligible to enlist in the armed forces, unless a waiver is granted.

      • bigdicktater - Sep 14, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        Do they make helmets that big?

    • sdpaulson - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      And if he was a main stream DC politician he wouldn’t even be confined at home, even if people died, “what difference, at this point does it make”?

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Sep 14, 2013 at 4:08 AM

      Has anyone ever survived such a draconian sentence? Is part of it cutting him back to basic cable? I mean, 8th Amendment, cruel and unusual punishments. Come on people, have some heart.

  3. Jack Marshall - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:37 PM

    He was acquitted of lying in those instances because the jury chose to ignore the clear evidence and used this bogus charge to send the message that Barry wasn’t getting away scot free. A complete acquittal would have been a far less palatable injustice. Christ, Craig…

    • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Why would the jury willingly choose to ignore evidence in one instance yet use this testimony to “send a message.” If they were in the business of “sending messages” they likely would have nailed him on everything?

      The real reason the jury got to this result is that the trial judge allowed a jury instruction that all but mandated they find Bonds guilty on this count. It was a bogus instruction that should not have been allowed. After the trial several jurors said that they thought they had no choice.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:46 PM

        Here’s the jury questioning their verdict:

        Here’s a deeper take on the jury instructions:

      • manhandler1 - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:35 PM

        The instruction that should have been given was one that would have put him in prison for perjury. This guy a serial cheating, serial lying pos. Talked about the press making his family miserable while he was keeping his whore in a house he bought for her in Arizona. He cheated in baseball and he cheated on his wife and we’re supposed to feel SORRY for him? Not a chance.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 13, 2013 at 11:12 PM

        He cheated in baseball

        How did he cheat in baseball if he didn’t break any rules? Steroids weren’t against baseball rules until ’06, and before you bring it up the notice by Vincent wasn’t valid, as Vincent himself said it wasn’t worthless.

      • theskinsman - Sep 14, 2013 at 3:24 AM

        Craig,may I suggest you send Barroid some cash to tide him over from this cruel persecution? Maybe if you go on hunger strike or go all out Buddhist Monk fiery protest,people will suddenly buy into your endless crying over cheaters getting even a dirty look from a court of law.
        If the Judge’s instruction was bogus, why don’t you take that face made for radio over there and school these people on how the rules of law need to apply to your heros. The nerve of some people.

    • jkcalhoun - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:53 PM

      Jack, are you suggesting that the ends justify the means? Is that (and not in a legal or lawyerly sense) ethical?

  4. heyblueyoustink - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:40 PM

    Damn ketchup apologist.

    • kiwicricket - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:59 PM

      Belongs in the fridge btw…

      • heyblueyoustink - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:33 PM

        Mix it with some vinegar and spices, now we’re talking.

      • jimeejohnson - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:41 PM

        Pie or cake?

  5. bfunk1978 - Sep 13, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    That’s fine I never found him all that appealing to begin with. To have lost it, but to never have had it…was it ever really there?

  6. Stiller43 - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    That may not be YOUR version of justice, craig, but this rights a perceived wrong in many peoples eyes…so in the end, he got a little bit of what was coming to him. Fair to me.

    Btw, home confinement for a month for a millionaire probably means less golf and more tennis on his private courts and lounging by his oversized pool sipping purple drank. I wont cry for him

    • kruegere - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:57 PM

      And…….then he got racist.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 13, 2013 at 7:26 PM

      but this rights a perceived wrong in many peoples eyes…

      And what wrong was that?

    • skerney - Sep 14, 2013 at 7:46 AM

      Right, because the reason everyone hates Barry Bonds is because he obstructed justice.

      • jimeejohnson - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:42 PM

        No me: I hate him because he crushed my team so many times!

      • jimeejohnson - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        No = not.

  7. mikeinthevine - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:20 PM

    I wonder if I would have gotten a 30 day home confinement sentence for obstruction? Probably not. Better call Saul!

    • heyblueyoustink - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:37 PM

      You won’t get enough credit for this.

      With that said:

  8. hatesycophants - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    Another indefensible waste of tax payer funded resources.

  9. alexo0 - Sep 13, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Young, idealistic Bruce Wayne, studying a case file in law class: “But is that justice?”

    Law Prof, dispensing a harsh dose of reality: “No, Mr. Wayne. That’s the law.”

  10. yankeepunk3000 - Sep 13, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    didn’t his coach go to jail for months too a year? when Barry threw him under the bus? So yea 30 days is really no big deal. What a waste of tax payers money. if they were gonna go after him atleast do it right

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 13, 2013 at 7:28 PM

      No, his personal trainer, Greg Anderson, went to jail for refusing to testify. Bonds didn’t throw him under the bus. It’s the reason most legal analysts said Bonds would not be convicted because they couldn’t find anyone to testify that they actually saw him use PEDs.

      • yankeepunk3000 - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:38 PM

        oh ok, thanks, I was not sure but I knew someone went to jail. I guess he rather have taken the hit then testify.

      • nbjays - Sep 14, 2013 at 8:44 AM

        Bonds may not have thrown Anderson under the bus, but I’m convinced Anderson took a dive under the bus at the request of his buddy Barry and was more than adequately compensated financially by said buddy when he got out of the crowbar hotel.

    • clydeserra - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:51 PM

      Anderson was paid?

      Prove it.

      Better yet, have you government spend millions of dollars to prove it.

      What’s that? They didn’t?

      THey spent millions of dollars convicting Bonds, thousands housing ANderson while he refused to testify and you think they never thought to try to show that link?

  11. neelymessier - Sep 13, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    Two judges disagree. He was aware of the purpose of the proceedings, and answered regarding irrelevant legal activity knowingly. He lied about every question on point, but lucked out because Anderson wouldn’t testify and BALCO kept no specific records. Yes he skated due to lack of profit beyond a reasonable doubt.

    I have no doubt he wasn’t consciously pretending to not understand the direct question at the heart of the inquiry. Poor Barry. Noone appreciates the hard work he put into lowering his career hrs per at bat from 16 to under 8 and maintaining it for 5 years.

    Two judges wrong. Hardly a sports story.

  12. andyreidisfat - Sep 13, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    Ugh… I really hate to agree with the roid defender boy, but in this case he is right. Bonds did not in anyway evade anything in this q and a . I do think bonds should be banned for life like the rest of these cheaters but I also think the justice system should work as it is supposed too.

    • garlicfriesandbaseball - Sep 14, 2013 at 1:54 AM

      Banned for life ……..? The average sentence for murder is only 15 years. Get a life.

      • nbjays - Sep 14, 2013 at 8:37 AM

        So tell us again, then… who did Pete Rose kill?

      • jimeejohnson - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:45 PM

        Rose tried to kill Ray Fosse and didn’t even have to try but would’ve killed Bud Harrelson.

  13. jdillydawg - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    “…prohibited them from looking at the part of the testimony where Bonds answered the question.”

    That’s pretty hilarious. You’re innocent until proven guilty, but the judge gets to decide which part of the transcript you get to hear. That’s a really sad statement on our justice system.

    • ptfu - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      Eh, it’s more a statement about a particular judge who screwed up.

      In this respect, the justice system is fine. There needs to be some impartial legal expert–a judge–to cut through the distortion, obfuscation, and other crap that lawyers are forever throwing up on their clients’ behalf. Or, in this case, when witnesses try it when testifying. Otherwise trials would quickly devolve into farce, as layperson juries are snowed under by various shenanigans.

  14. bbk1000 - Sep 13, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    He looks like the blobfish…..

  15. manhandler1 - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:27 PM

    I’ll tell you what Craig whatever your name is. You should really find a more worthy subject to defend. This serial liar took steroids for years and then insulted everyone’s intelligence by saying he thought they were rubbing Vitamin B on his body.
    Been a Giants fan for many years and this dirtbag prima donna was so full of himself that almost none of his teammates could stomach him.
    When all this was happening, he dragged his own son into a press conference to try and tell the press they were harming his family. This is while all the info about how he was keeping his girlfriend in a house he bought for her in Arizona was coming out. What a raging hypocrite.
    And we’re supposed to feel sorry for poor little Barry? Give me a big break.

    • happytwinsfan - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:57 PM

      its not about feeling sorry for poor little Barry. it’s about expecting, demanding, a judicial system which is rational, impartial and fair

      true, it may not be too terrible for barry to have to hang out at his mansion for 30 days, and already being a millionaire perhaps not being able to get a decent job because of a felony conviction won’t cause him any hardship. but think about what happens when ordinary people who do have to work for a living, because of a trumped up felony conviction, are unable to do better than a dishwashing job.

      the belief that our judicial system only very very rarely convicts an innocent man is a fantasy of tv land about as close to reality as the ozzie and harriet show. it’s up to us, as citizens that the too frequently self important dip shits of the judicial system not get too big for their britches.

    • skerney - Sep 14, 2013 at 7:50 AM

      Dad, is that you? I’m glad the old Compaq up and running.

      • happytwinsfan - Sep 14, 2013 at 11:10 AM

        if your’e still running with a 386, i dis own you

    • jimeejohnson - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      If his name’s too difficult for you to pronounce then your comment must be too lame to read.

  16. stercuilus65 - Sep 13, 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Ifonly the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals knew as much about the las as ol Craig did…

    • cur68 - Sep 13, 2013 at 10:12 PM

      They seem to know as much about the law as you do of spelling. Sheesh.

      • jimeejohnson - Sep 14, 2013 at 12:48 PM

        Craig’s not old. Just sayin’.

  17. garlicfriesandbaseball - Sep 14, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    Reblogged this on Garlicfriesandbaseball's Blog and commented:
    GFBB Note: Craig Calcaterra’s take on the Barry Bonds Appeal is pretty interesting, no matter what side of this fence you’re on. And be sure and read the comments below the article as it gives a 360 Degree perspective, though some of them will give you a mammoth headache …..ugghh!

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