The saga that has been the government prosecution of Major League Baseball home-run king Barry Bonds will come to a close on Friday, December 16, as Bonds will finally receive his sentence for obstruction of justice. Nearly a decade after the events that instigated the case, the BALCO steroids investigation will finally come to a close.
In April, Bonds was found guilty of obstruction of justice as it related to comments he made to the BALCO grand jury. His guilt was based on his rambling testimony nine years ago and has generated plenty of debate over the merits of the conviction. The Bonds case went to the jury on three counts of a false declaration (perjury) and one count of obstruction of justice. The jury was hung on the three counts of false declaration but found Bonds guilty of obstruction of justice. The jury voted 11-1 and 9-3 on two of the perjury charges, but even with that, the government elected not to pursue a new trial.
The United States Probation Office filed a pre-sentence report with the court and suggested a sentence of 15-21 months of probation with a monitoring device. This would equate to what is commonly known as "house arrest." This would also fall in line with the sentences Judge Illston has imposed in the prior BALCO cases over which she presided.
Bonds' attorneys filed a sentencing memorandum agreeing with the US Probation Office report, in large part due to the non-violent nature of the crime, Bonds' lack of a criminal history and his various charitable causes. The government filed their own memorandum in which they ask for 15 months of prison time.
The government's memo included a variety of arguments from their trial, which will likely not be considered by the judge. They pointed to a variety of issues from the trial that had nothing to do with the obstruction charge, including Bonds' alleged lies, for which he was found not guilty. It would be rather shocking if Bonds received any jail time. Instead, he will likely receive the low end of that 15-21 months of "house arrest."