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Bonds Sentenced to Probation and House Arrest
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Major League Baseball’s all-time homerun leader, Barry Bonds, was sentenced on Friday to two years’ probation and 30 days of house arrest. His sentencing was in response to a charge of obstruction of justice, but the sentence was stayed by U.S. District Judge Susan Illston, pending the outcome of the appeal by Bonds.

The pre-sentencing report from the probation department is sealed from the public’s view, but Illston quoted heavily from that report. Early in the sentencing, Illston claimed that the jury did get it right when they found Bonds guilty of lying to the grand jury panel on the case. Illston also agreed with the two year probation that was recommended by the probation board. The United States government was seeking prison time of 15 months for Bonds. There were four reasons from the pre-sentencing report that Illston quoted as the evidence for reducing the sentencing. Those four reasons from the pre-sentencing report include Bonds’ lack of a record, Bonds’ track record of charity work, lying to a grand jury panel is different from examples given in sentencing guidelines and avoiding differences in sentencing with other cases related to steroids.


“At least here … [sentences] have been noncustodial,” Illston said, according to The Recorder.

Matthew Parrella, a federal prosecutor for the court, objected to the inclination of Illston to sentence Bonds to probation using a long statement.

“This is a story he told for a decade before telling it to the grand jury,” Parrella said, in reference to the comments made by Bonds to the media about not being a steroid user. “The defendant lived basically a double life. He was well-versed at deceiving people.”

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Parrella also went on to say that Bonds kept mistresses and lied on multiple occasions to the media and to investigators about his steroid use.

“He wasn’t convicted of that,” said Illston.

Bonds has considerable wealth, so the fine levied to him by the court of $4,000 was called ‘laughable’ by Parrella, urging the court to send a message to the public and to the sports world by using Bonds as the example.

“I urge the court to send a message here,” said Parrella.

After listening to arguments made by Parrella, Illston decided to stick to her original plan anyway. Allen Ruby, a defense attorney for Bonds, asked Illston to change the language of the sentence’s probation against possession of weapons to make sure that Bonds would be allowed to use a baseball bat. For this instance, Illston declined to do so.

Defense attorneys Ruby and Dennis Riordan announced that they have an intention to file an appeal on Friday for the ruling on sentencing handed down by Illston. The announcement was made during the sentencing and after it during a news conference.


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