Barry Bonds’ lawyers seek home confinement

Barry Bonds

San Francisco Chronicle on December 7, 2011 released the following:

“Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Barry Bonds’ lawyers asked a federal judge Tuesday to sentence him to home confinement for obstruction of justice in his testimony about steroids, saying Bonds has a laudable but little-known record of public service and should be sentenced no more severely than other sports figures.

The former Giants star, baseball’s all-time home run leader, was convicted in April of trying to thwart an investigation into steroid distribution by giving evasive answers to a federal grand jury in 2003. The jury deadlocked on three charges that Bonds committed perjury in denying he had knowingly used steroids, and prosecutors have decided not to retry him.

Defense lawyers plan to appeal the conviction. In the meantime, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of San Francisco is scheduled to sentence Bonds on Dec. 16 and could send him to prison for a year or more – but is unlikely to do so, based on her sentencing in earlier cases.

For example, as Bonds’ lawyers noted Tuesday, Illston sentenced former cycling champion Tammy Thomas to six months of house arrest for four convictions of lying about steroids. The judge gave track coach Trevor Graham a year of home confinement for a perjury conviction after evidence that he had supplied drugs to athletes.

A court-appointed probation officer has recommended that Bonds be given probation and home confinement for some period below six months, and Illston should follow that proposal, defense lawyer Allen Ruby said. He did not specify the recommended period and said the officer’s report was confidential.

“Mr. Bonds does not dispute that he was convicted of a serious offense,” Ruby said. But he cited the probation officer’s conclusion that his conviction appears to be “an aberration when taken in context of his entire life.”

Prosecutors have not yet submitted their sentencing recommendation.

Bonds, 47, was charged with lying to and misleading the grand jury that was investigating steroid distribution to athletes by BALCO, the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative in Burlingame.

His longtime friend and former trainer, Greg Anderson, refused to testify against him and spent more than a year in prison for contempt of court, preventing prosecutors from tying Bonds to BALCO tests showing steroid use.

He was convicted of obstructing justice by replying to a question about whether Anderson had ever given him injectable drugs with an answer that discussed their friendship, Bonds’ childhood and other subjects but never saying yes or no. Bonds’ lawyers said he later answered the question truthfully with a denial, but Illston upheld the conviction.

In Tuesday’s filing, Ruby said Bonds should be given credit for “charitable and civic contributions” that “have taken place away from the public eye.”

He quoted a letter to the court from a nurse at UCSF Children’s Hospital, where a new family playroom bears Bonds’ name.

Bonds has made numerous “unannounced and unpublicized visits” and is “always unfailingly kind and attentive to the many young children who flock to his side,” the nurse said. “Frequently he will go to the bedside of a particularly ill child and gently give him/her words of encouragement to ‘never give up.’ “”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
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