The Washington Post

Barry Bonds obstruction of justice sentence: 30 days of house arrest, 2 years of probation


Things could have been a lot worse for Barry Bonds if the prosecution got its wish. (Robert Galbraith/Reuters)

Bonds was sentenced Friday in a San Francisco federal courtroom for purposely using rambling non sequiturs in an effort to mislead a grand jury during the 2003 investigation.

Federal prosecutors had requested a 15-month prison sentence for the seven-time MVP and all-time home run leader. Instead, Bonds will be under house arrest for 30 days and was handed a $4,000 fine for evasive testimony. He must also perform 250 hours of community service.

Judge Susan Illston followed the recommendation of the defense in sentencing Bonds to probation, a fine and community service. Judge Illston said the Bonds case has forced the sports world to confront its steroids problem. Bonds’ charitable works — many of which take place “out of the public eye” according to Judge Illston — were also considered during the sentencing.

The prosecution made one final effort to hit Bonds with prison time. According to the San Jose Mercury News, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Parrella said Bonds’ conduct before the grand jury “strikes at the core of our system” and that his testimony “was not a spur of the moment thing.”

Parrella later said Bonds lived a “double life” by allegedly using steroids and having a relationship with a mistress while married. Judge Illston responded: “He was not convicted for that.”

Parrella called the probation sentence “inadequate and almost a slap on the wrist.”

Last week, the prosecution wrote that “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.”

What’s your take? Was the punishment sufficient? Not harsh enough?

Matt Brooks is the high school sports editor for The Washington Post. He's an Arlington native and longtime District resident and was previously a high school sports reporter, editor for several blogs and Early Lead contributor with The Post.

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