Federal appeals court ruling lets prosecuters
keep steroid test records in BALCO case
Photo courtesy www.thehomerunguys.com
By Julia Cheever, Bay City News Service
December 27, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - A divided U.S. appeals court ruled
in San Francisco today that federal prosecutors can retain drug
testing records seized in 2004 on about 100 Major League Baseball
players who allegedly tested positive for illegal steroid use.
The records were seized during searches connected with an investigation
of illegal steroid distribution by the Burlingame-based Bay Area
Laboratory Co-operative, or BALCO.
Government investigators originally sought information on 10
baseball players allegedly connected with BALCO, but during searches
of testing laboratories in Long Beach and Las Vegas allegedly
found information about positive tests on 100 other players.
The names of the players, including the 10 allegedly connected
with BALCO, were not revealed in the ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals.
A panel of the court by a 2-1 vote overturned rulings by federal
trial judges in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco blocking
prosecutors' access to evidence on players not connected with
Two of the judges had ordered return of the evidence on the non-BALCO-related
players and the third, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of San
Francisco, blocked a May 2004 subpoena that sought some evidence
already seized as well as additional information on the 100 players.
The decision could be appealed to an expanded panel of the circuit
court or to the U.S. Supreme Court. Michael Weiner, general counsel
of the Major League Baseball Players Association, said no decision
had been made on a further appeal.
"All I'd like to say at this point is that we are reviewing
the ruling and may have a comment tomorrow," Weiner said.
The records were made by Comprehensive Drug Testing Inc. of Long
Beach and Quest Diagnostics Inc. of Las Vegas during testing of
players in 2003. The tests were intended to be anonymous and the
purpose of the project was to help Major League Baseball decide
whether to adopt an individualized steroid testing program.
In the BALCO case, two BALCO executives, a chemist, a track coach
and personal trainer Greg Anderson, whose clients include San
Francisco Giants star Barry Bonds, have pleaded guilty to charges
including distributing illegal steroids or money laundering.
Cyclist Tammy Thomas and track coach Trevor Graham have been
indicted on charges of lying during the BALCO investigation and
are awaiting trial.
Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.