Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Baseball-themed dissent in Barry Bonds case

The Barry Bonds en banc opinion is out (here), and Judge Rawlinson pens a baseball-themed dissent with the following intro, headings and conclusion:

U.S. v. Bonds, No. 11-10669
Rawlinson, Circuit Judge, dissenting:
There is no joy in this dissenting judge. The per curiam and concurring opinions have struck out.
  • Strike One - The per curiam and concurring opinions second-guess the jury’s verdict rather than deferring to it.
  • Strike Two - The per curiam and concurring opinions disregard precedent that supports upholding the jury’s verdict.
  • Strike Three - The concurring opinions rely on precedent more applicable to perjury than to obstruction of justice.
  • Final Pitch
Barry Bonds received a grant of immunity in exchange for his truthful and candid testimony before the grand jury. Rather than aiding the grand jury in its investigatory quest, Bonds elected to obstruct the grand jury process by giving evasive testimony. There is sufficient evidence to support his conviction because the jury was instructed that it must find his evasive testimony to be material before rendering a guilty verdict. In my view, the per curiam and concurring opinions impermissibly second-guess the jury verdict, disregard our precedent, create an unwarranted circuit split and import inapplicable principles from Bronston into the obstruction of justice analysis. I cry foul.