June 14, 2024

Baseball Great Clemens Faces 30 Years In Prison – Don’t Fed Prosecutors Have Better Things To Do?

Baseball great, 48 year old Roger Clemens, faces the equivalent of a death sentence with the threat of a 30 year prison term after being indicted for making false statements, obstruction and felony perjury.   The indictment follows an inquiry into Mr. Clemen’s alleged use of steroids, during which Mr. Clemens flatly denied ever using steroids or human growth hormone.

Federal prosecutors, miffed by Mr. Clemens audacity to make allegedly “false statements under oath”, announced the indictment today and seem prepared to vigorously prosecute Mr. Clemens.  US Attorney Ronald Machen, said in a statement that “The Department of Justice takes referrals from congressional committees very seriously”.

Mr. Clemens continues to maintain his innocence, stating on Twitter that, “I never took HGH or steroids.  And I did not lie to Congress. I look forward to challenging the government’s accusations, and hope people will keep an open mind until trial. I appreciate all the support I have been getting. I am happy to finally have my day in court.”

The ironic part of this human tragedy is that Roger Clemens was man enough to state his innocence, forgoing his Fifth Amendment rights and agreeing to testify before Congress.  According to sports writer Jeff Passan,

Clemens wasn’t in trouble when baseball released George Mitchell’s report on steroid use. Sure, it disintegrated the purity of everything he spent 24 seasons building, but Clemens was no felon. Just a guy who chose the wrong drug dealer. Only when he went on the warpath to prove his innocence did Clemens tiptoe near a law that people in power are interested in prosecuting.

The indictment, 19 pages long and rich with information, highlights 15 utterances the government deemed false leading to an obstruction of justice charge. Testimony regarding steroids, HGH and vitamin B12 comprise three false statement charges and two more perjury charges, each of which could carry five years prison time.

On page 10 is the statement most horrifying to Clemens, the rubbing alcohol in his gaping wound: “The Committee did not issue CLEMENS a subpoena, and CLEMENS was under no obligation to testify. CLEMENS retained his right under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution to refuse to answer any questions that might tend to incriminate him.”

He could’ve taken the Mark McGwire tack, treating the Fifth like his best friend. He could’ve done what so many other accused steroid users did: not say a thing and let the allegations fade into the ether, a black mark, sure, but not one that torpedoes a life. He could’ve done what his friend Andy Pettitte did: admit use, apologize for it and move on.

There remains the possibility, of course, that Clemens never did use steroids,…

Still, it’s harrowing to see another all-time great baseball player, steroids or not, paraded in front of the country as an example that thou best not trifle with the feds.

Does the country really want to see Roger Clemens put in jail, made an example of, by over zealous prosecutors seeking to exhibit the Federal Government’s stern authority over its citizens?  Readers of this column are already aware of the fact that the United States incarcerates more of its citizens than any country on earth -see How The US Justice System Turns Jaywalkers Into Violent Criminals.

The United States currently has in prison 762 people per 100,000.   The incarceration rate in France is 96 people per 100,000.   Is the United States a land full of criminals or do we have a justice system run amok??  People lie everyday, including those who lead our country.   Doesn’t the Justice Department have better things to do?


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