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SAN FRANCISCO — A divided federal appeals on Friday court dealt the federal government a significant setback in its prosecution of Barry Bonds on perjury charges.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that prosecutors may not present positive urine samples and other vital evidence that the government says shows that the slugger knowingly used steroids.
The appeals court ruling upholds a lower court decision barring federal prosecutors from showing the jury any evidence collected by Bonds' personal trainer Greg Anderson.
Anderson last year told the trial court judge that he would rather go to jail on contempt of court charges than testify against Bonds.
The court says evidence tied directly to Anderson is inadmissible "hearsay" evidence unless the trainer testifies to the items' authenticity.
Prosecutors argued that Anderson had told BALCO vice president James Valente that the samples belonged to Bonds and that they would call Valente to the witness stand. But the appeals court said that because Anderson wasn't directly employed by Bonds — the judges considered him an independent contractor — the trainer would need to testify because Bonds didn't control of the samples.
The court noted it was Anderson's idea to collect the urine samples and deliver them to BALCO.
"There is little or no indication that Bonds actually exercised any control over Anderson in determining when the samples were obtained, to whom they were delivered, or what tests were performed on them," Judge Mary Schroeder wrote for the majority court.
Judge Carlos Bea dissented, writing that he would have allowed Valente to testify about the samples.
Although the ruling eliminates what prosecutors said were three positive steroid tests, they still have a fourth test showing Bonds used steroids. In 2003, Major League Baseball tested all of its players for steroid use. The results of those tests were to remain confidential and were to be used only to determine if MLB had a drug problem that needed to be addressed.
The lab that MLB hired to conduct its testing found that Bonds tested negative for steroid use. But in 2004, federal agents seized Bonds' urine sample and had it retested for the designer steroid THG, which they said turned up positive.
Bonds has pleaded not guilty to charges that he lied to a grand jury in December 2003 when he testified that he never knowingly used performance-enhancing drugs. A federal grand jury indicted him in 2007. His trial was scheduled to begin March 2, 2009, but the trial was delayed by the government's appeal.
Unless federal prosecutors asks the Supreme Court to take the case or the appeals court to reconsider its ruling, the case will be sent back to Illston's trial court to reschedule the start of the trial.
Legal experts said it may take Illston several weeks to clear her busy calendar for the Bonds trial. Bonds also has six prominent lawyers with many clients each and their calendars will also have to be taken into consideration as well.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hold a special sitting Wednesday at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University in Tempe.
A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday tossed out the conviction of an Arizona man who left water jugs for migrants as they passed through the intensely hot desert.
A federal appeals court on Wednesday reinstated a shareholder lawsuit against Scottsdale-based Matrixx Initiatives over what company officials knew about potential dangers from its popular Zicam cold remedy.
One parent in a divorce case can't veto a decision by a former spouse to send their child to a religious school, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday.
NEW YORK • The battle for control of troubled bank Wachovia tilted toward Wells Fargo Sunday as a state appeals court blocked a lower court ruling that had favored rival bidder Citigroup.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The fate of Anna Nicole Smith's body was in the hands of three appeals court judges Tuesday who will decide whether to overturn a trial court ruling that meant the Playboy model would be buried in the Bahamas.
The Arizona Court of Appeals issued a 54-page ruling last month on the controversial issue of whether state lawmakers are required to provide more cash to certain public schools.
WASHINGTON - A federal appeals court sided with the Bush administration Friday on an electronic surveillance issue, making it easier to tap into Internet phone calls and broadband transmissions.
President Bush speaks at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast Thursday, June 9, 2006 in Washington.
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Microsoft Corp., which sought to protect itself from a big-dollar patent ruling.
NEW YORK - A federal appeals court has denied Research In Motion Ltd.'s request to delay the next phase in a long-running patent suit while the maker of BlackBerry e-mail devices appeals an infringement verdict to the Supreme Court.
A recent court ruling could pave the way for a rash of lawsuits against companies whose sales reps malign their competitors.
March 30, 2005
February 10, 2005
Mesa is considering asking the U.S. Supreme Court to take up the issue of whether cities can require random drug testing for firefighters. The City Council votes Monday on filing an appeal before the April 26 deadline.
The second trial for an Ahwatukee Foothills man accused of murdering his 5-year-old son in 2004 has not yet begun as appellate courts decide whether or not the same judge will continue to oversee the case and whether Jeffrey Martinson will be allowed to retain his sixth set of legal counsel.
Insisting the trial judge got it wrong, Secretary of State Ken Bennett decided Monday to ask the Arizona Supreme Court to keep the sales tax initiative off the November ballot.
A court will hear arguments on Sept. 13 in Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's appeal of a ruling that limited his ability to do immigration enforcement.
Someone’s refusal to open the door to police doing an investigation is insufficient, by itself, for the officers to enter without a warrant, the Arizona Court of Appeals has ruled.
Mesa will challenge an appellate court ruling that favored a tattoo shop and that could have statewide implications by making it harder for cities to regulate where some kinds of businesses can locate.
The state Court of Appeals has thrown out a bid by a Southern Arizona ranching company to get title to land where its predecessors had grazed cattle for more than a century.
WASHINGTON (AP) — A liberal legal scholar is withdrawing his nomination to an appeals court judgeship after Senate Republicans blocked a vote on his confirmation last week.
Russell Pearce, guest commentary