Wrist slaps, yes; but BALCO sentences matter
After Patrick Arnold's guilty plea last week to one count of conspiracy to distribute steroids, several people asked me what the government has accomplished through the course of its BALCO-related prosecutions. It's a good question. Thousands of hours were spent by investigators and prosecutors, and an untold amount of money was committed to the case. And to date, none of the defendants has received a sentence longer than four months in jail (not including a short time under house arrest).Arnold, the chemist who supplied the BALCO lab with the substance known as "the clear," originally was charged with three counts of conspiracy, but two of them were dropped in exchange for his guilty plea to the remaining charge last week. His likely sentence is three months of jail time and a subsequent period of home detention. That puts Arnold in line with the other BALCO defendants, all of whom also pleaded guilty and received similar or even lighter sentences: • BALCO founder Victor Conte recently finished a four-month prison sentence and has begun a four-month term under house arrest. • Personal trainer Greg Anderson served three months in prison and another three under house arrest. • James Valente, a BALCO executive, was sentenced to three years of probation. • Remi Korchemny, a track coach who worked with a number of world-class sprinters, received one year of probation. That's it.
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