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Saturday, December 17, 2011

ESPN: Munson - Light Bonds sentence raises questions

The investigation into Bonds and BALCO, the lab that produced and sold undetectable designer steroids, is the most important investigation ever undertaken into the use of performance-enhancing drugs…

...The federal judge who presided over the Bonds trial is Susan Illston. She is a San Francisco Democrat and a bit of an enigma.

Throughout the BALCO investigation, she made a series of decisions that were difficult to explain. Early in the prosecutions, when she was sentencing Greg Anderson on perjury charges, Anderson admitted under oath that he had sold steroids to numerous elite athletes. At that point, Illston could have, and should have, asked Anderson to name the athletes. She, however, did not ask him to name the athletes, passing up a chance to do something important for the sports industry and the nation.

In other news, Lester Munson is an asshat.

jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:35 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: amateur, steroids

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   1. Dale Sams Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:47 AM (#4018250)
IANAL, Anderson couldn't have refused to answer? Wiki says Illston stuck him back in jail for contempt.

Q: How does the home confinement sentence for Bonds compare with other sentences in the BALCO investigation?

A: Like many of the decisions made by Illston, the sentence is puzzling.

When Victor Conte, the founder and CEO of BALCO, admitted guilt, Illston sentenced him to only three months of incarceration. When Greg Anderson, a steroids dealer who sold to numerous athletes, admitted guilt, she sentenced him to only three months.


Anderson has been in and out of jail for the last six years, and he's been the subject of federal harrassment.
   2. Bob Tufts Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:51 AM (#4018251)
Tufts: Light Munson Sentence Raises Questions

http://liestoppers.blogspot.com/2007/03/lester-munson-legal-expert.html

"After his admittance to the Illinois State Bar in 1976 and practicing law for 13 years, it appears Munson, facing multiple charges of misconduct occurring during a time he was already on probation by the Ilinois Bar, voluntarily agreed to discontinue practicing law. As a mitigating factor in his misconduct, Munson pointed to his alcoholism."
   3. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:52 AM (#4018253)
asked Anderson to name the athletes. She, however, did not ask him to name the athletes, passing up a chance to do something important for the sports industry


Is that her job? Seriously for the lawyers around here, is there any legal reason why Illston should have asked Anderson that question? I understand why that would be relevant to the assorted sporting bodies involved but for purposes of Bonds' trial I don't see why she would need to follow that line of questioning.

and the nation.


Oh please.
   4. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:53 AM (#4018254)
She, however, did not ask him to name the athletes, passing up a chance to do something important for the sports industry and the nation.


Because what this witch hunt needs is MORE hunting of witches! Witches are BAD! Look at how they dress, they are just asking for everything they get. And they are likely Democrats! Won't someone think of the children!
   5. Dale Sams Posted: December 17, 2011 at 04:57 AM (#4018258)
"Well, she does have a wart."
   6. Bitter Mouse Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:07 AM (#4018260)
From elsewhere:
Considering the sizable investment of prosecutors’ time and Americans’ tax dollars, the “punishment” may seem a little light


Because, you know, how much punishment there is SHOULD depend on the amount of time and effort spent in persecution.

Seriously?

EDIT: Minor spelling issue.
   7. base ball chick Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:27 AM (#4018265)
the disbarred lawyer thinks that a prison sentence should correllate to the amount of money spent on persecution of the person statnding trial?

i see why he is disbarred

what i DON'T see is how he ever got admitted in the first place
   8. ray james Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:31 AM (#4018268)
I wish DMN were here so he could tell us again that: It's. The. Law.
   9. Ron J Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:33 AM (#4018270)
As I've said several times, the prosecutors could have required Anderson to name names as part of the plea deal. Best I can tell they didn't because they thought he'd be a more credible witness against Bonds if he hadn't been required to name Bonds as part of the plea deal.

He was the truly key witness against Bonds, and the whole line of questioning -- didn't you get a deal for this testimony? -- might have been effective against Anderson.

Incidentally, this guys was a practicing lawyer? Doesn't sound like he had much experience.
   10. Gonfalon B. Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:40 AM (#4018274)
Not only did they lose the option of Greg Anderson naming names as the result of their strategic decision, they later lost Anderson. The federal prosecutors could have had his courtroom testimony, just by sticking with the original deal they made with him. But they reneged on the agreement, expecting that they could ultimately pressure Anderson into being an unwilling cooperator. Bad guess.
   11. Dag Nabbit: secretary of the World Banana Forum Posted: December 17, 2011 at 06:00 AM (#4018286)
Lester Munson was the only guy from Sportswriters on TV I never liked. He always struck me as a strident jerk.
   12. Ray (RDP) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 06:22 AM (#4018293)
Incidentally, this guys was a practicing lawyer? Doesn't sound like he had much experience.


I don't know what area of law he practiced, but his columns do not appear to relate to that area.

And it seems fairly difficult to get hit with disciplinary action from the bar. It's interesting that hasn't given any of these news outlets or universities much pause in hiring him.

As to the substance of what he writes, he's been off the reservation a couple of times now in the Bonds trial. And the Duke piece that Bob linked to above -- I just read it -- shows Munson's "analysis" to be an absolute train wreck.
   13. Flynn Posted: December 17, 2011 at 12:37 PM (#4018337)
What the hell is a San Francisco Democrat? I think anybody with even a fraction of knowledge about San Francisco knows that phrase to be utterly meaningless.

It's like saying that because Munson is an unethical drunk, he is a typical Chicago Democrat.
   14. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 17, 2011 at 01:26 PM (#4018340)
After his admittance to the Illinois State Bar in 1976 and practicing law for 13 years, it appears Munson, facing multiple charges of misconduct occurring during a time he was already on probation by the Ilinois Bar, voluntarily agreed to discontinue practicing law

He should host a show with Nancy Grace.
   15. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: December 17, 2011 at 02:04 PM (#4018347)
When I read about the sentence, it raised some questions for me:

1. Will I get in trouble if anybody in this meeting notices I'm reading a baseball website?

2. What if I scratched my balls?

3. Am I hungry?

4. Why is that guy watching me scratch my balls?
   16. Tricky Dick Posted: December 17, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#4018349)
Illston could have, and should have, asked Anderson to name the athletes. She, however, did not ask him to name the athletes, passing up a chance to do something important for the sports industry and the nation.


And that's because judges are supposed to be roving prosecutors?
   17. spike Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#4018425)
"San Francisco Democrat"? That's some quality agenda-staking right there.
   18. tshipman Posted: December 17, 2011 at 05:54 PM (#4018432)
I'd like to third the "What the #### is a San Francisco Democrat?"
   19. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: December 17, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#4018439)
Early in the prosecutions, when she was sentencing Greg Anderson on perjury charges, Anderson admitted under oath that he had sold steroids to numerous elite athletes. At that point, Illston could have, and should have, asked Anderson to name the athletes. She, however, did not ask him to name the athletes, passing up a chance to do something important for the sports industry and the nation.


Is Lester Munson really unaware of the facts presented in #'s 9 and 10? Anderson's plea deal specifically said that he wouldn't have to name names. If Illston had done what Munson suggests, wouldn't all of the lawyers on both sides have simultaneously jumped up to object?

"What the #### is a San Francisco Democrat?"


A Democrat from San Francisco?
   20. DFA Posted: December 17, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#4018479)
"What the #### is a San Francisco Democrat?"


Anyone who catches the ire of Bill O'Reilly?
   21. A triple short of the cycle Posted: December 17, 2011 at 08:00 PM (#4018508)
In San Francisco, conservatives are Democrats. The Democrats are challenged from the left, not the right, in City politics. Progressives are Green Party or something else. Classic example: Matt Gonzalez (Green) v Gavin Newsom (Democrat) for Mayor.
   22. Srul Itza Posted: December 17, 2011 at 08:29 PM (#4018532)
When Victor Conte, the founder and CEO of BALCO, admitted guilt, Illston sentenced him to only three months of incarceration. When Greg Anderson, a steroids dealer who sold to numerous athletes, admitted guilt, she sentenced him to only three months.


Weren't these plea bargains, with a specific sentencing range or recommendation already agreed to?
   23. Danny Posted: December 17, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#4018546)
Wow, this guy is awful.
Cyclist Tammy Thomas was convicted of a charge similar to Bonds. After noting that Thomas had lost everything and faced health issues, Illston sentenced her to what Illston thought was a gentle sentence -- six months of home confinement. Bonds is a man of considerable wealth who is in excellent health. Instead of sentencing him to more home confinement than Thomas, Illston sentenced him to less time at home. It is difficult to put Illston's sentences into any consistent pattern.

Thomas was convicted of both perjury and obstruction of justice. Yeah, it makes no sense at all why she would get a slightly harsher sentence than Bonds, who was only convicted of obstruction. Munson's failure to even mention the probation office's recommendation that Bonds not be sent to prison raises questions.

A better article.
   24. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 17, 2011 at 11:09 PM (#4018658)
ESPN: Munson - Light Bonds sentence raises questions
Like why ESPN employs an incompetent, multiply-disciplined lawyer as a legal analyst. (He is not, however, disbarred.)
   25. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: December 18, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#4018882)
I don't know what area of law he practiced, but his columns do not appear to relate to that area.

And it seems fairly difficult to get hit with disciplinary action from the bar. It's interesting that hasn't given any of these news outlets or universities much pause in hiring him.


He appears to have been a personal injury/medical malpractice attorney. In 1991 he was suspended from the practice of law for 4 months for 1) failure to maintain a separate client fund trust account, although he did eventually pay his client and outstanding liens from whatever funds were available. However, during that time, his account balance fell below the amount owed to his client, which constitutes conversion. 2) He neglected a med mal case and lied to his client about it.

That was for events that occurred in 1986-87. After 1989 he stopped practicing law voluntarily. He also received three years probation, during which he could continue practicing law, for a 1985 case for which details are not online. The ARDC (Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, which handles attorney discipline) did mention his alcoholism being in "remission" in its 1991 ruling.

Mishandling client funds is taken very seriously, and the ARDC can subpoena bank records. That's almost a surefire disciplinary action, if, of course, the attorney gets caught.

He was originally licensed in 1967 and apparently took nearly 20 years either to fall apart or to get caught. Strangely, though, he is still licensed as an active attorney and authorized to practice law.

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