That’s important because he may be spending most of his time there after he is sentenced Friday for his felony conviction of obstruction of justice. Federal probation officers are recommending U.S. District Judge Susan Illston sentence Bonds to some form of house arrest and community service rather than the prison term that prosecutors seek.
Legal analysts expect Illston to follow most of the probation department’s suggestions and “downward depart” from federal sentencing guidelines calling for 15 months to 21 months in prison when the last of the defendants directly connected to the investigation of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative is sentenced Friday.
The analysts, Bonds attorneys and the probation department all cite Illston’s sentencing of cyclist Tammy Thomas and track coach Trevor Graham as the more appropriate guidelines to follow in considering Bonds’ punishment. Thomas and Graham were convicted of similar crimes. Thomas was sentenced to six months of home detention after a jury convicted her of perjury for denying she used steroids. Graham received a year’s home arrest after a jury convicted him of lying to a federal agent about his relationship with a steroids dealer.
A jury convicted Bonds in April of purposely answering questions about steroids with rambling non sequiturs in an attempt to mislead a grand jury investigating sports doping in December 2003. Bonds’ trial jury deadlocked on three other charges accusing Bonds of perjury for allegedly lying when he denied taking performance-enhancing drugs and receiving injections from someone other than his doctor.
Prosecutors in September dropped those deadlocked charges, foregoing another trial.
Prosecutors are asking for a prison sentence of 15 months and note that baseball’s career home runs leader has never accepted responsibility for his actions.
“Bonds’ pervasive efforts to testify falsely, to mislead the grand jury, to dodge questions, and to simply refuse to answer questions in the grand jury makes his conduct worthy of a significant jail sentence,” prosecutors wrote the court last week.
Bonds will have 14 days to file his intention to appeal his conviction after sentencing Friday.