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Court to Decide Whether Feds Can Use Steroid Tests

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - The 9th Circuit agreed to rehear a dispute over whether federal prosecutors legally obtained the positive drug test results of 104 professional baseball players during their investigation of steroid use in the sport.

A three-judge panel ruled in December 2007 that prosecutors can keep evidence seized from the major league's drug-testing administrator and enforce additional subpoenas for more than 100 players who tested positive for illegal substances in 2003.

The decision reversed a federal judge's ruling to discard the tests on the grounds that the government lacked the power to seize players' drug-testing records. Comprehensive Drug Testing conducted the testing during an investigation of BALCO, which was accused of distributing illegal steroids to professional athletes. The disputed results include a test of Barry Bonds, who is scheduled to go on trial in March for making false statements about his use of performance-enhancing drugs.

The Major League Baseball Players Association challenged the searches, claiming they violated players' constitutional rights.

An 11-judge panel will rehear the case in the coming months. If the union loses, it might appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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