Roger Clemens to Get off on Technicality?


As you well know by now, Roger Clemens was indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges that he lied about his use of performance-enhancing drugs when he testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.  For those of you walking the Earth that were so wrapped in personal affairs and just found out, I hope everything is OK, and welcome back.

As the days have passed since the indictment, attorneys and legal scholars across America have had the opportunity to review the government's case against Clemens.

While no one I know of, other than the seven time AL Cy Young Award winner himself, feels that he's not guilty of the charges brought against him, he will get his opportunity to express his minority opinion in court and matters will proceed from there; at least that's the way it's supposed to work

In speaking with a few of my legal buddies this weekend, I've actually come across a popular point of view that it's quite possible that the charges brought against Clemens will never be argued and debated in the court room at all; no, not because of a plea bargain, because the charges may be dismissed all together!

As I understand it, the way it's been describe to me is that perjury charges could only have been brought in connection with investigations conducted as part of those Congressional responsibilities outlined in the Constitution.

When a Congressional committee summoned Roger Clemens to testify at a nationally televised hearing in February 2008, it was trying to determine the accuracy of George Mitchell's report, which had named Clemens as a user of steroids and human growth hormone.

Congress didn't do this investigation to determine whether they needed new drug laws and they didn't do it to determine whether federal agencies were exercising their proper oversight. Congress did the investigation to figure out whether Clemens or his trainer were telling the truth. That's fine and dandy except for one thing. That is not a legislative function and it's not Congress's job to hold perjury trials.

Apparently, I'm not the only one to believe this to be the case. According to a Michael S. Schmidt report in Friday's New York Times, Reginald J. Brown, a former special assistant to President George W. Bush and an associate White House general counsel from 2003 to 2005, has given Clemens's lawyers a strong argument to have the government's perjury case against Clemens dismissed, citing legal precedent that this very argument has been successfully used before to have perjury charges dismissed.

In summary, while the claims made against Roger Clemens may in fact be true, the case may be dismissed based on the fact that Congress may not have had the right to bring perjury charges against the Rocket in the forum that they did. Only in America.....

There is another perspective, the "People's" perspective that says dropping the case and getting baseball out of Congressional hands all together may be the best for not only baseball, but the nation. On Adam Foster's post this past Friday, Roger Clemens & Barry Bonds: Taking Vain to New Heights, one of our readers, who named himself "Reality Check", left the following comment.

"Millions of Americans are unemployed, Iranian scientists are working on an atomic bomb, our nations bridges, roads and dams are crumbling, the federal deficit is ballooning yet our "elected" officials and their patronage lackeys want to spend more of our tax dollars on another nvestigation / trial because of their need to preserve the sanctity of baseball. Make a real statement vote all the bums out of office and send a message to stop wasting our money on nonsense."

No matter what point of view you have on this issue, clearly there are no winners as in hindsight the entire era of baseball in question by Congress will forever be viewed as tainted. - Mike Cardano

Mike is the founder of Around the Horn Baseball & Xtra Point Football.

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