No second chances
No. Roger Clemens essentially was charged with failing to play by the rules.
The justice system cannot work properly if people do not tell the truth, and Clemens was alleged to have lied — at great risk, because the government would not have prosecuted him for illegal use of steroids but would prosecute for perjury.
However, the government has to play by the rules too. It is difficult to believe the prosecutors intentionally defied a judge's order, but they nonetheless failed to play by the rules.
Clemens did not get the chance to clear his name, but the government should not get a second chance to send him to prison.
Prosecution blew it
It's beyond me to argue whether double jeopardy applies in the Roger Clemens case, but the prosecution was wholly responsible for the mistake that resulted in Thursday's declaration of a mistrial.
Intentional or not, the showing of testimony that U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton had ruled inadmissible was a foolish mistake. The government sabotaged its case, so why should its incompetence be rewarded with another chance at prosecuting Clemens?
To allow the prosecution to essentially take a mulligan is to descend a slippery slope. How many do-overs does a side get to fix its colossal screw-up?
The answer should be none.
Can't give up now
Juan C. Rodriguez
Think about all those man hours and resources the federal government dumped into prosecuting Roger Clemens.
They made an unforgivable mistake presenting evidence the judge had ruled inadmissible, prompting the mistrial. That isn't sufficient cause for the prosecution to abandon its case.
The government owes it to the American people who fund it to follow through. Yes, a retrial will cost more money and require more man hours, but the prosecutors' conviction shouldn't waver now.
This isn't about punishing Clemens. The Hall of Fame voters will take care of that. It's about the government holding steadfast to a prosecution it felt strong enough to pursue.
Asterisk will remain
The ruling of a mistrial was due to a mistake by the government, not a convincing victory for Clemens.
Nevertheless, score another one for Roger the Dodger, who frequently threw at batters but rarely faced retaliation because he spent most of his career in the American League, home of the designated hitter.
The government likely will seek a retrial, with the defense pursuing an appeal if the judge rules in favor of a retrial. Even if Clemens isn't tried again, the mistake by the government is more of an indictment of its carelessness than a sign that Clemens is innocent. The asterisk next to Clemens' credentials is big enough without another trial.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun