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Bonds En Banc

Last September, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit upheld the obstruction-of-justice conviction of Barry Bonds. From the court's summary:

The panel affirmed Barry Bonds's conviction of one count of obstruction of justice, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, arising from Bonds's testimony before a grand jury investigating whether the proceeds of the sales of performance enhancing drugs were being laundered.

The panel held that § 1503 applies to factually true statements that are evasive or misleading.

The panel held that there was sufficient evidence to convict Bonds because his statement describing his life as a celebrity child - in response to a question asking whether his trainer ever gave him any self-injectable substances - was evasive, misleading, and capable of influencing the grand jury to minimize the trainer's role in the distribution of performance enhancing drugs.
Yesterday the Ninth Circuit granted rehearing en banc.  Because of its size, the Ninth does not generally sit truly "en banc," with all its judges participating, like the other circuits.  The Ninth's pseudo-en-banc procedure is to make an 11-judge panel consisting of the chief judge and 10 others chosen at random.

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