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9th Circuit Affirms Use Of Players’ Drug-Test Results

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - In the ongoing legal battle over steroid test results in the Major Leagues, the 9th Circuit largely affirmed its ruling allowing federal investigators to use the names and urine samples of about 100 players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003.

In December 2006 a panel of three judges overturned three lower court decisions barring federal prosecutors from using information seized in the 2004 raids of labs involved in Major League Baseball's drug-testing program. The names could further incriminate slugger Barry Bonds, who faces a perjury charge for allegedly lying to a grand jury about whether he used steroids.

During the raids, investigators seized computer files containing the drug-test results. But due to labor contracts between players and owners, the labs kept the results confidential by assigning a code number to each player that corresponded with his results.

On rehearing, the appeals court voted 2-1 to affirm its ruling granting access to the evidence and held that the raids were reasonable, but overturned its ruling on the third lower court decision because the government filed its notice of appeal too late.

Judge Thomas, in a partial dissent, disagreed with the majority's view of the search and seizures:

"One of the three extremely able district court judges who rejected the government's argument summarized it best, stating, 'What happened to the Fourth Amendment? Was it repealed somehow?'" See ruling.


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