Barry Bonds sentenced to 30 days house arrest

Former baseball player Barry Bonds arrives at federal court for sentencing on Friday, Dec. 16, 2011, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
December 16, 2011 5:16:37 PM PST
Barry Bonds got a relative slap on the wrist Friday, as a judge sentenced the former Giants slugger to 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine for his for his obstruction of justice conviction.

It's been nine years since the BALCO drug investigation began. It was the largest ever federal probe into sports doping. The governement spent millions of dollars, 11 people were convicted, but Bonds' conviction was the most controversial.

Prosecuters wanted 15 months in prison, Bonds' attorneys hoped for nothing more than probation and community service, but in the end, the judge mostly followed the probation department's recommendations.

"He lives in a wonderful multi-million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills; many defendants would be happy to serve home detention there," investigative reporter Lance Williams said.

Williams wrote a book on the BALCO drug scandal and he is referring to Bonds' $9 million estate in Beverly Hills, where he may be under house arrest for 30 days.

Federal prosecutors believe it is not much of a punishment for the superstar, who was also put on probation for two years and ordered to perform 250 hours of community service.

But Judge Susan Illston said she was moved by Bonds' charity work, almost all of it out of the public eye.

Bonds' fan Esther Pacazo couldn't agree more. She's a friend of Bryan Stow, who was brutally beaten at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day last season. She says Bonds has been generous to the father of two who's recovering from a coma.

"He donated, he gave some money until the kids is done with college, so he has great heart also," Pacazo said.

The judge was also influenced by the home run king's clean criminal record. She believes his behavior was an aberration.

Bonds' attorneys agree. They're appealing his conviction on obstruction of justice.

"At the moment, he is branded a felon, we think unjustly, and just as we aggressively fought the case at trial, we intend to fight in on appeal and overcome that judgment," Bonds' lawyer Dennis Riordan said.

In court, Illston asked Bonds if he wanted to say anything. He said no. He also said nothing as he left courthouse.

The judge stayed the sentence until the appeals process is over. That process may take a year or longer.

The U.S. Attorney's office had no comment.

Bonds set records in career and season home runs and intentional walks, was voted most valuable player a record seven times, and in a remarkable display of speed and power, is the only member of the 500 stolen base, 500 home run club.

Bonds will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013.


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