Barry Bonds’ appeal to be argued on February 13

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Barry Bonds still hasn’t had his appeal from his obstruction of justice conviction heard. His appellate panel was announced yesterday:

Senior Circuit Judges Mary M. Schroeder and Michael Daly Hawkins along with Judge Mary H. Murguia will hear oral arguments Feb. 13.

If Schroeder’s name seems familiar, that’s because it is:

She wrote an opinion in 2010 upholding U.S. District Judge Susan Illston’s ruling to bar the testimony of former Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative executive James Valente from Bonds’ trial, which led to the exclusion of some BALCO records that the government maintained included positive drug tests.

Which doesn’t mean that her vote is in the bag or anything. Because no matter what people like to think they know about how judges roll, judges roll entirely the way they want to. And because, you know, this appeal is a totally different situation than the evidentiary appeal Bonds won several years ago.

As for that appeal, I stand by what I wrote a couple of years ago: it’s a really, really tall order to have a jury verdict set aside.  It doesn’t happen often.  That said, given what I feel were bad jury instructions with respect to the obstruction of justice charge and the unusual and, in my view, incoherent he-didn’t-perjure-himself-but-he-did-obstruct-justice outcome of the trial, Bonds stands a better chance at winning this longshot than many criminal defendants.