Justice strikes out: The railroading of Barry Bonds


While I have not followed baseball since my beloved Dodgers left Brooklyn, a recent baseball-related story caught our attention. As many of you may know, Barry Bonds—the “home-run king”—was just convicted in federal court of obstruction of justice, and acquitted of three counts of perjury. At issue was whether Bonds lied, in 2003, to a federal grand jury about his steroid use and relationship with the Bay Area Lab Cooperative (BALCO). The jury failed to convict him of perjury, but due to a disturbing reading of the law, District Judge Susan Illston upheld the conviction of obstruction. It seems that, during the course of the Grand Jury questioining, Bonds rambled on, and failed, initially, to answer a given question directly. Even though he later gave a clarified, specific response to the question at hand, his rambling constituted, for 12 jurors and a District Court judge, an attempt to obstruct justice. For obvious reasons, every citizen—especially the more loquacious among us—would have reason to worry if this conviction stands.

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