Retired home-run hitter Barry Bonds was the beneficiary of a federal judge's version of an intentional pass.
Federal prosecutors who seek to discourage witnesses from giving false statements didn't get much help last week from U.S. Judge Susan Illston.
In one of highest-profile cases involving prominent athletes and impermissible steroid use, Judge Illston rejected the prosecution's recommendation that baseball slugger Barry Bonds be imprisoned after being convicted for giving misleading grand jury testimony.
Instead, the judge ordered Bonds spend 30 days confined to his two-acre Beverly Hills estate, serve two years of probation, perform 250 hours of public service work and pay a $4,000 fine. She suspended imposition of the sentence until after Bonds completes his appeal of his conviction.
Disappointed prosecutors called the sentence "almost laughable" and a "slap on the wrist." It certainly is a slap on the wrist, much more lenient than penalties imposed on other prominent athletes who used steroids and then lied about it before grand juries.
Ten people were convicted for a variety of misdeeds in the steroids problem, including six who were cited for lying to a grand jury. As Major League Baseball's all-time home run king, Bonds is perhaps the most prominent of all the personalities swept up in the probe. How ironic that he pays the lowest price for refusing to come clean in the investigation.