With the law, like baseball, it isn’t over until it’s over. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal announced today that an 11-judge panel will reconsider former Giants slugger Barry Bonds conviction for obstruction of justice in an investigation of steroids use.
The order was issued Tuesday and is a majority vote of the 28 participating judges, although the court does not disclose the vote breakdown.
The appeals court upheld Bonds conviction for obstruction of justice in September last year for his evasive testimony to a grand jury investigating illegal distribution of steroids by the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO.)
The three-judge appeals panel held that his answers were “evasive, misleading and capable of influencing the grand jury to minimize” the role of Bonds’ trainer, suspected of distributing performance enhancing drugs.
Bonds’ rambling answers about being a “celebrity child” to grand jurors questions about trainer Greg Anderson’s distribution of steroids could be the basis of a conviction, the panel held. The panel found that even truthful answers could be the basis of conviction if they were so evasive.
Bonds was sentenced in 2011 to spend 30 days in his Beverly Hills mansion and perform 250 hours of community service for his conviction to use of dodgy answers to federal questions.
Jurors could not agree on a perjury charge against Bonds.
Bonds hit 762 home runs during his career, topping the record of 755 by Hank Aaron but remains to be seen whether American sports writers will put Bonds in the Hall of Fame with a conviction hanging over him.
Bonds became ensnared in a broad grand jury probe of illegal steroid distribution and money laundering by BALCO in Burlingame.
The three judge panel included Judges Mary Schroeder, Michael Daly Hawkins and Mary Murguia.
The 11-judge en banc panel will be a random selection from among the court’s 29 active judges.
Case: U.S. v. Bonds, No. 11-10669