This won’t be a surprise to anyone but lawyers for Barry Bonds filed a notice of their intention to appeal his conviction and sentence. The case will go to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
But after eight years of battling claims he knowingly used steroids at the peak of his career, the real question is – will he get in the Hall of Fame.
Bonds was sentenced on Dec. 16 to spend 30 days in his Beverly Hills mansion and perform 250 hours of community service for his conviction on a single charge of obstruction of justice for his dodgy answers to federal grand jury questions about the BALCO lab that provided a number of athletes with performance enhancing drugs.
Jurors could not agree on perjury charges against Bonds.
Bonds hit 762 home runs during his career, topping Hank Aaron’s 755, but it remains to be seen whether American sports writers will put Bonds in the Hall of Fame with the conviction hanging over him. That’s what makes his appeal important.
Bonds became ensnared in a broad grand jury probe of illegal distribution of steroids and money laundering by the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) in Burlingame.
Two men associated with BALCO were Victor Conte, president of BALCO, and Greg Anderson, Bonds’ childhood friend and personal trainer. Conte, Anderson and two other defendants were ultimately charged and later pleaded guilty to drug distribution.
Bonds, 47, was questioned by grand jurors and later he was accused of lying to the grand jury and giving rambling evasive answers to questions that obstructed the grand jury’s work.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston gave bonds 30 days of home detention, which was similar to other sentences in sports cases. She gave track coach Trevor Graham one year of home confinement for lying about supplying athletes with performance enhancing drugs and cycling champion Tammy Thomas received six months of home detention for lying about steroid use.
Only Marian Jones, a track star, received jail time stemming from the same grand jury investigation.
Bonds appeal will get a schedule for briefing and random assignment to three appeals judges.
Case: US v. Bonds, No. CR07-732SI