Barry Bonds Avoids Jail Time

Judge hands down 250 hours of community service, two years of probation, $4,000 fine and 30 days of house arrest.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Baseball's home run king was sentenced to house arrest, probation, community service and a fine. But as NBC Bay Area's Traci Grant tells us, Barry Bonds won't begin serving his sentence just yet.

    Former San Francisco Giants' slugger Barry Bonds was given probation and house arrest Friday for lying to a federal grand jury.

    Bonds entered the courtroom one minute before the sentencing was scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and winked at his mother before sitting down.

    Before hearing the sentence, Judge Susan Illston said Bonds would not go to prison but instead she would stay close to the probation officer's recommendation and that Bonds would have a chance to speak and appeal any decision.

    His lawyers said they would appeal but Bonds would not speak or admit guilt. The judge agreed to stay the sentence until the appeal.

    The recommendation for probation was 250 hours of community service, two years of probation, $4,000 fine and 30 days of house arrest.

    By 11:30, the prosecution was still arguing for jail time because they said Bonds had time to think and speak with legal counsel about what he was going to tell the jury.

    She said she agreed with the jury that Bonds tried to obstruct justice with his testimony but he didn't succeed. Illston also said that there are different degrees of obstructing justice and that Bonds didn't threaten anyone or tamper any evidence.

    Illston said Bonds' charitable work and no previous convictions played into her decision.

    The case centered around a bust by the feds at a little-known lab in Burlingame called Balco exploded on the world sports stage back in 2002.

    Nearly a decade later, the poster child for the steroid era in Major League Baseball will learn his legal fate.

    Former Giants slugger Barry Bonds is scheduled to be sentenced in a San Francisco Federal Courtroom at 11 a.m. The hearing is expected to last less than an hour.

    Federal prosecutors have asked Judge Susan Illston to send Bonds to prison for 15 months for lying to a federal grand jury in 2003. 

    Bonds' lawyers have asked for probation and an unspecified amount of "location monitoring," which is code for house arrest.

    Legal analyst Steven Clark said he thinks the judge will lean toward house arrest over any hard time.

    Last April a jury convicted Bonds of obstruction of justice connected to an evasive answer during a grand jury's sports doping investigation.

    Federal sentencing guidelines for the charge is between 15 and 21 months in prison, but Bonds' lawyers cites a report by a federal probation officer that recommends probation.

    Other Balco-related convictions, including cyclist Tammy Thomas, track coach Trevor Graham, and football player Dana Stubblefield were sentenced to periods of house arrest or probation.

    The sentencing is also not likely to be the end of the story. Bonds will have until Dec. 30 to file a notice of appeal.