SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Former Giants hitter Barry Bonds will not go to prison for obstruction of justice, but he faces two years of probation, 30 days of home confinement, 250 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine, a federal judge ruled.
Prosecutor Matthew Parrella called the sentence “a slap on the wrist.”
“I urge the court to send a message here,” Parrella said, asking U.S. Judge Susan Illston to put Bonds behind bars for at least 15 months. “A $4,000 fine is almost laughable for a man with a 50,000 square foot house.”
Parrella also argued that Bonds’ community service should include some admission of his guilt.
After a three-week jury trial, Bonds was convicted on April 13, 2011, of one count of obstructing a federal grand jury investigation into alleged steroid abuse at the Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative. Prosecutors dropped three other counts of making false statements, as the jury had been deadlocked on those charges.
Bonds declined to address the court at his sentencing on Friday.
“I think the jury got it exactly right in that he made an effort to obstruct justice, but he didn’t succeed,” said U.S. Judge Susan Illston, who presided over the trial.
The light sentence aligns with Bonds’ lack of criminal record, his charitable contributions, many of which made privately, and the offense level of his crime, Illston added.
“His behavior was illegal and criminal, but different” from other examples of obstruction like threatening witnesses or firebombing witnesses’ houses,” she said.
Illston remarked that she had received “dozens of letters” about Bonds’ charitable activities. “It was striking to me that most of it has been done privately and out of the public view,” she said.
Bonds’ obstruction crime appears to be “aberrant behavior from an otherwise law-abiding lifestyle,” she continued.
Parrella disagreed, pointing to the mistresses Bonds kept throughout his married life. “The defendant lived a double life for decades,” he said. “He was well versed in misleading people.”
Illston responded, “He wasn’t convicted for that.”
Bonds’ sentence is stayed pending appeal.