Thoughts on Barry Bonds

I really don't like Barry Bonds.   I found his home run chase last summer almost painful, and was happy it was over just to stop hearing about Barry Bonds.

That being said, I am pretty non-plussed by his recent indictment on perjury charges.  I really am deeply concerned about going after high-profile people on perjury charges, particularly ones that are associated with cases where no underlying crime was even prosecuted (Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton also come to mind in this category).

The problem is that these cases get prosecuted incredibly selectively.  The vast, vast majority of people in Bonds situation never get prosecuted, much less have four year investigations.  As a result, it is pretty clear that those who do are selected on some basis having more to do with their profile (Martha Stewart), political animus (Bill Clinton) or just because the person is incredibly unsympathetic (e.g. Bonds).  As evidence for this in Bond's case, where are the similar investigations into McGwire or Giambi?

Tom Kirkendall has a great roundup of posts for those who are more concerned that titillated by Bond's indictment.  Or then there is TJIC's take, which is always, uh, not moderate:

What I find most amazing about cases like this, and the Martha
Stewart thing, is that there's some sort of unstated presupposition
that the state has a right to extract information from people.

Lying to government officials on fishing expeditions isn't just a right; it's a duty.


  1. jbleth:

    Don't leave Lewis "Scooter" Libby off your list of people who were prosecuted for perjury when there was no underlying crime.

  2. napablogger:

    or Bill Clinton who was impeached for lying about having sex under oath. In Bond's case, however, he was guilty of steroid use, which is a crime, and that is what he lied about. Maybe they should prosecute him for that.

  3. Anonymous:

    There was an underlying crime as the Feds successfully prosecuted BALCO principles for illegal steroid distribution.

  4. Josh:

    napa, why don't you tell us which law he broke.

  5. Rob:

    Why is congress investigating sporting affairs? From where do they claim the power to do so?

    On another note, I thought Bonds was accused of using performance enhancing drugs (not necessarily illegal crime-wise, but just baseball wise). So, I'm a little annoyed to see another person being charged with perjury where there was no underlying crime being charged !?!?

    On another note, that's an interesting idea that "...there’s some sort of unstated presupposition that the state has a right to extract information from people."

  6. SuperMike:

    I'm wondering if this habit that federal prosecutors have is going to be counterproductive in the long run. I can tell you, if the feds show up asking a bunch of questions, I'm going to be far more hesitant to talk to them, even if my butt's not the one on the line, than I would have before this spate of perjury/obstruction/lying prosecutions.
    It's obvious why perjury should be a serious crime, lying under oath undermines the system, but the vigor of the prosecution and the punishment should be directly related to the negative impact on the integrity of the legal system. (Which, it has to be conceded, in these cases isn't that great)
    I think we should reinstate the exception for the exculpatory no. I don't think that "lying to investigators" should be a crime (they're certainly not barred from lying to you). I think it's important whether or not a real, serious, viable case was derailed, and at what point.

  7. TC:

    We need to have the Justice Dept reinstated.

    Somewhere along the years it got stolen by attorneys and it became a Legal System.

    Are you going to cast a vote for another attorney next election? (sans city, county, state attorney general)?