The obstruction of justice conviction of former slugger Barry Bonds has been reversed by 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals clearing Bonds legally after 11 ½ years in court.
On Wednesday, a federal court of appeals threw out the obstruction of justice conviction of the career home run leader. The court ruled 10-1 that his meandering answer before a grand jury in 2003 was immaterial to the US government's investigation into illegal steroids distribution.
Judge Alex Kozinski wrote the most one can say about this statement is that it was non-responsive and thereby impeded the investigation to a small degree by wasting the grand jury's time and trying the prosecutors' patience. Judge Kozinski also remarked real-life witness examinations, unlike those in movies and on television, invariably are littered with non-responsive and irrelevant answers.
Jessica Wolfram, one of the jurors who convicted Bonds, said she could not help but feel that the prosecution lasting for more than a decade was all a waste, all for nothing.
In a statement, Bonds said the news is something that he has long hoped for and added he is humbled and truly thankful for the outcome as well as the opportunity our judicial system affords to all individuals to seek justice. The 50-year-old Bonds said he is excited about what the future holds for him as he embarks on the next chapter.
The American former professional baseball left fielder, considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time, played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants.
In 2007, Barry Bonds broke the long-standing record of Hank Aaron of 755 homers and finished that season with 762 home runs. In December 2007, Bonds was indicted for his testimony before a grand jury that was investigating the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case when he said he was "a celebrity child" when asked about injections. Bonds claimed while testifying before the grand jury that he did not realized the substances used by him were illegal performance enhancing drugs.
In 2011, Barry Bonds was convicted of the obstruction charge and a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld the conviction in 2013.
Barry Bonds has been denied entry into baseball's Hall of Fame by baseball writers despite holding the career and season home run marks. Former baseball Commissioner Fay Vincent said he thinks sadly Bonds' reputation has been tarnished, not because of the indictment or the reversal, but because of all the PED use.
Roger Clemens, whose pitching feats were as accomplished as the batting achievements of Barry Bonds, has also been denied Hall entry. In 2012, Clemens was acquitted of criminal charges he lied to Congress when he denied using performance enhancing drugs.
Travis Tygart, chief executive officer of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, called the decision on Barry Bonds as almost meaningless for the real issue, which is whether he used performance-enhancing drugs to cheat the fans of baseball. Tygart added he thinks at the end of the day America knows the truth and who the real home run record holder is, who did it the right way, and it's obviously not Barry Bonds