SF Giants Prospects

Conviction reversal for Barry Bonds case seems likely

By Timmy Kennedy
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San Francisco Giants’ home run king, Barry Bonds, may have his conviction — of attempting to obstruct the jury — reversed. The judge described the conviction as “alarming” after Bonds answered questions to a jury, about as to whether he did indeed inject himself with drugs, allegations he denied, evidently. During the hour long hearing, the judge had skepticism that Bonds did in fact try to mislead the jury during the last case, and the court claimed the allegations were on “shaky grounds.”

In all honesty, I know nothing about the case, so here is what the Boston Herald had to say:

"After a three-week trial in 2011, the jury failed to reach a verdict on three counts charging Bonds with making false statements when he denied receiving steroids and human growth hormone from trainer Greg Anderson and denied receiving injections from Anderson or his associates. Prosecutors later dismissed those three charges. Bonds was convicted for giving a rambling answer to a question about whether he received injectable substances. Bonds’ appellate lawyer, Dennis Riordan, argued that Bonds’ “unresponsive” answer did not constitute obstruction. He was immediately met with questions on his logic.“One can mislead with the truth,” Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said. “One can certainly mislead with irrelevant statements by leading a questioner into blind alleys, and isn’t that why we have a jury? A jury was instructed. It heard arguments, and it concluded there was in fact a corrupt obstruction of justice here. Why don’t we defer to the jury?” Chan argued that Bonds had a “corrupt intent” in attempting to obstruct the grand jury with the rambling answer. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit upheld Bonds’ obstruction conviction in a unanimous vote last year, but a majority of the court’s 28 participating judges voted to set aside that decision and have the larger group rehear the appeal.Prosecutors asked Bonds during the grand jury appearance whether Anderson ever gave him “anything that required a syringe to inject yourself with?” Bonds referred to his father, former major leaguer Bobby Bonds, when he responded, “I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see.”Bonds answered “no” to similar questions later in his grand jury appearance, which Riordan argued was sufficient to cure any non-responsive answers. Some of the judges questioned whether Bonds had sufficient notice of what he was being charged with, since the third superseding indictment contained a broad obstruction charge and the specific statement was not included until the prosecution proposed jury instructions about a month ahead of the trial."

The decision could ultimately impact his Hall of Fame status. A decision isn’t expected until the end of the year. Bonds served as a hitting instructor for the Giants this spring training, and many players say he was a huge help. This led to much speculation that he would indeed return next spring training, or even as a full time hitting coach.

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