A U.S. appeals court laid the smack down on the Justice Department this week, ruling that the MLB steroid test results that keeps conveniently leaking to the press should have never have been given to prosecutors to begin with.
Perhaps the only reason we even know that Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Sammy Sosa failed drug tests back in 2003, is because federal prosecutors working on the BALCO case seized the records and urine samples from baseball's testing program, including the information that linked test results to individual players. Their investigation was only supposed to cover the 10 specific players linked to BALCO, including Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi and Gary Sheffield (who have never been publicly linked to "the list"). They took it all and now they've been scolded for it.
The player's union sued and yesterday the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco (i.e., dirty hippies) ruled that the seizure was illegal and therefore prosecutors may not use the evidence in court, in the BALCO case or any future trials. It could still go to the Supreme Court—since there are larger issues at stake about searching electronic records—but if they reject the case or uphold the ruling, the samples and the data may finally be destroyed.
Too late to save the players who have already been named, of course, and since the list has already been seen by numerous lawyers, rumors and revelations will continue to persist. And all so the Justice Department could nail Barry Bonds on a perjury charge. (Which happened six years ago, by the way, and they still haven't prosecuted him.) So this has been a great use of everyone's time.
Appeals court bars feds from using pro baseball players' steroids test results [San Jose Mercury News]