Former baseball player Barry Bonds was sentenced on Dec. 16 to 30 250 hours of community service, two years of probation and 30 days worth of house arrest for obstruction of justice. He was found guilty back in April after a three-week trial and was sentenced by Susan Illston, a U.S. District Court Judge. Illston said she agreed with a pre-sentencing report recommending probation and also tacked on a fine of $4,000. The prosecution was seeking a 15-month jail term. However, Bonds won’t after to serve any of the sentences for the moment since Illston suspended it while it’s being appealed by Bonds.
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Bonds won the National League’s MVP award seven times during his career while also setting MLB records for career and single-season home runs. Even though the former star was found guilty of obstruction, the jury couldn’t agree on any of the three counts he faced of making false declarations. The charges stemmed from the testimony he gave in 2003 before the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative Advair Diskus grand jury where he denied that he knowingly used any performance-enhancing drugs during his 22-year baseball career.
Bonds lead defense attorney, Allen Ruby, agreed with the pre-sentence probation report which said Bonds shouldn’t serve any time in jail. The prosecution argued that Bonds was convicted of a level 14 criminal offense and the typical sentence is between 15 and 21 in jail and didn’t agree with the pre-sentence report. However, the defense said the conviction was out of character for Bonds and was just a once-in-a-lifetime incident. Ruby added that Bonds’ history shows he’s very charitable and a good community citizen.
The judge said she agreed that Bonds had attempted to obstruct justice, but he wasn’t successful at doing so. She also said he didn’t threaten witnesses, but his testimony was questionable at best. The prosecution attempted to discredit Bonds during the hearings and said that he planned ahead of time to lie and that he also led a double life and had mistresses on the side. However, Illston said that had nothing to do with the case and he wasn’t convicted of anything else.
The 47-year old Bonds was one of baseball’s biggest stars. He retired from the game in 2007 with a total of 762 home runs, the most in MLB history. He also set the single-season record for home runs in 2001 when he slammed 73 of them out of the ballpark. However, many people have felt that Bonds was using performance-enhancing drugs during his playing days and his home run records are questionable because of that.