Thursday, September 18, 2014

Barry Bonds may still be cleared

I had to admit being wrong about the Barry Bonds conviction being upheld, and now I find that the case is still pending:
Reviving Bonds' legal arguments, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed earlier this year to reconsider a ruling upholding the conviction. A majority of the 9th Circuit's 29 full-time judges had to vote to rehear the case, a signal of some doubt within the court about the outcome.

"It's got legs," said Rory Little, a former federal prosecutor and Hastings College of the Law professor. "But I wouldn't predict this one." ...

Bonds was indicted on a charge of lying to the grand jury in December 2003 about whether he used steroids while chasing baseball's all-time home-run records.

A jury more than three years ago deadlocked on perjury charges against Bonds but convicted him on an obstruction charge for his rambling answer to a question about whether his former personal trainer, Greg Anderson, had ever supplied or injected him with steroids.

The answer included musings about being "a celebrity child with a famous father" and other remarks jurors later said were meant to evade questions about his steroid use.

In last year's ruling, a unanimous three-judge 9th Circuit panel rejected Bonds' legal arguments that he was convicted of simply providing a rambling answer that did not amount to a crime. The judges found the testimony "evasive" and "misleading."
I am going to predict again that the Bonds conviction is reversed.

Bonds was acquitted on the perjury charge (lying about using steroids), and only convicted on the sole charge of obstruction of justice, on a theory that he gave one evasive answer to one question.

It appeared to me that Bonds misunderstood the question, and that the prosecutor was satisfied with the answer. The defense says that the question was answered elsewhere in testimony, and that even a false answer can be cured by correcting the answer. The state still maintains that Bonds committed perjury, and that should be held against him on appeal, even tho the jury did not agree.

Appeals courts are usually pro-prosecution and sometimes concoct weird rationales to uphold a conviction, but the case against Bonds is just too weak. I think that he will be cleared.

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