Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Barry Bonds Steroid Prosecution Finally Over

The long legal saga of the Department of Justice versus Barry Lamar Bonds appears to have come to a close, ending not with a bang (or a clang of prison cell doors) but with a whimper: a single paragraph saying the DOJ would not pursue the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

After at least $6 million spent on his trial and appeals, not a single conviction stuck, not even for lying under oath or misleading prosecutors. So, what did we learn from all this?

The Long and Winding Legal Road

It's hard to believe this all started with the 2003 investigation against BALCO (Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative) -- the place where Bonds allegedly got his performance enhancing substances. The ex-San Francisco Giant was indicted in 2007 on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in regards to his grand jury testimony during that investigation.

Bonds was convicted of obstruction of justice. He appealed. His conviction was upheld. And then it was overturned.

The recent announcement from the DOJ means the government won't challenge the overturned conviction, and that will be that. In the end, a "rambling, non-responsive answer to a single question" can't lead to a criminal conviction, and we're left with no more clarity on Bonds' steroid use (or his truthfulness about it) than we had when we started.

Hall of Infamy

Bonds was obviously relieved:

The finality of today's decision gives me great peace. As I have said before, this outcome is something I have long wished for. I am relieved, humbled and thankful for what this means for me and my family moving forward. Throughout this process my faith in God, along with so many who have supported me, is what has kept me going. Thank you to all of you who have expressed your heartfelt wishes to me; for that, I am grateful. I'd also like to thank my outstanding legal team for their continued work on my behalf.

That legal team certainly earned their hourly rate. But all that work will likely do little to improve Bonds' chances for the Hall of Fame. Although one of the greatest talents to ever play the game, he's been eligible for induction three years running and hasn't gotten anywhere near the required 75 percent approval from voters.

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