Barry Bonds files a motion to have his conviction set aside

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We knew this was coming, and the legal beagles out there will enjoy reading it, so here it is.  Barry Bonds moves to have his conviction set aside on four grounds.

The first: that truthful statements can’t constitute obstruction of justice, referring to that “I was the child of a celebrity” digression which formed the basis of his conviction. That statement was truthful, Bonds argues, and the law that the prosecution cites to say that such truthful statements can form the basis of obstruction is inapplicable to this case.

The second basis is the one that appeals to me the most and which I discussed most thoroughly following the conviction: the argument that the government can’t say Bonds was evasive because he repeatedly answered the question asked anyway. Basically, the government block quoted one instance of Bonds not answering directly and then ignored all of the times he did answer directly.  The jury ignored these other instances too, it seems.  In this second section Bonds argues that the prosecutor has an obligation — as the Supreme Court has stated — to clear up unresponsive answers as well, which is something else I’ve argued repeatedly that the Bonds prosecutors did not do at all. And which, it should be noted, is something that could be just as damaging to the criminal justice system as perjury could be.

The third basis is a general “the weight of the evidence did not support a conviction” argument, which is kind of hard to pull off, but Bonds has to try it anyway.

Finally, Bonds argues that his immunity deal prevented his prosecution.

Since no one is paying me $400 an hour to review the case law and totally slam into the legal arguments here, I won’t, but I will say that as far as these things go, it seems like a pretty strong motion. Mostly because it was a pretty weak conviction.

That said, success on postrial motions such as these is not common and the burden a defendant who has been convicted by a jury is high, so there’s no guarantee of success here.  An appeal may have a better shot.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves