I don’t understand the Law

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I really don’t understand the law. The Department of Justice finished the Lance Armstrong investigation and closed it without filing any charges. I have no idea whether this was the right decision or not. I guess I need to say I hope so. I obviously have no access to any of the information they used to make the ruling.

Further on in this article from Velonews.com that states that – U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygert said in a statement that his organization would pursue documents from the investigation. I don’t understand this.

I thought a grand jury gathered information, in private, and used that information for the purpose of deciding whether to file charges against a person or corporation. I had no idea that the information that the grand jury gathered could be used later on for other purposes, such as by USADA to pursue an anti-doping case against Lance.

I know a few of Lance’s team mates have made statements about his drug usage and that seems fair game. But to use the information that the US government used for a criminal case seems beyond what the whole purpose of the grand jury investigation was originally.

Of course there are others involved too. I think that Levi, George Hincapie and some other current racers were called in to testify before the grand jury. Can USADA use their sworn testimony against them now? The case wasn’t against them to begin with, but if they incriminated themselves testifying, does that mean they are going to be sanctioned? Strange.

Well, it seems that this is going to drag on for a while longer. Great.

Anyway, I’m off to the near the Mexican border, Campo, to road race at noon. 90 miles. Should be an effort.

25 thoughts on “I don’t understand the Law

  1. Bri

    I think they should present to the public the amount that was spent on this investigation. Including an itemized list with those trips to Europe.

  2. Jim Jones

    I could be wrong Tilly, but I think the Fed’s were looking for criminal activity against Armstrong, where USADA will now follow up against doping charges from the evidence.
    Either way, someones on the Punch! It’s pretty hard to believe at this point he won 7 tours stacked with confessed dopers, on Power Bars, FRS and Honey Stinger alone!
    I really don’t care if he doped or not, but to pretend he didn’t and to give false hope to millions seems more the issue.

  3. Zach

    Agree. Novitzky seems simply out to stroke his own ego, at a price paid by us. It was a waste when it began, now its just confirmed. He should have to pay it back.

  4. devin

    I am torn ,,,my daughter grew up idolizing lance and was thrilled to hear that he was not guilty. The truth is all i wanted,,, not money buying a verdict.. like you I don’t know what went on with the investigation…… he did give us years of great cycling stories but at what cost??

    Go fast ride hard today..

  5. Dziewa

    My answer is based on my whole six months of law school.
    USADA could try to use the information to convict the riders of doping. However, if they use testimony from a grand jury the riders could most likely sue USADA for violation of their due process rights since the evidence would be inadmissible and illegally obtained.
    Long story short, even if they try, by the time everything is adjudicated those riders would be long retired.
    I do agree that in an economy such as this the money could have been spent better.

  6. Brian

    It really made my day running into a world champ at Panakins. I was kind of star struck, so I forgot to congratulate you on your latest rainbow jersey. Hope you reach into the bag and have great legs today in Campo..

    And as far as St Lance goes, not indicted is far from not guilty.. I hope Big George and others don’t get pinched for telling the truth.. Or suffer backlash from the Armstrong camp..

  7. Roberto

    Of course it’s the right decision Steve. In this country, if someone claims they saw you do something, and no proof exists, except for their word, you are supposed to be given the benefit of the doubt. More than half the stuff we read in the papers, was BS. Did he cheat? Probably. Should it change his legacy, absolutely not. He competed on a level playing field, and he was better than everyone else. Lemond thinks he should just tell the truth, but I don’t see Lemond offering up any truths. A lot of people in this country, root for someone to fail, so they can feel better about themselves. When they don’t fail, they look for excuses why. None of the couch potato sports fans, understand the cycling culture in Europe, and can’t make a fair assessment, as to the choices you have to make. You shouldn’t be forced to have a mediocre career, or lose your career, simply to have a clear conscience. I was there for 12 years, and I sleep just fine at night. “LEAVE LANCE ALONE, HE IS A HERO”

  8. Rad Renner

    I am puzzled by the comments of Bri and Zach. Do you mean that federal law enforcement officials should not investigae potential felonies in the fraudulent use of millions of US taxpayers dollars? Do you feel that criminal conspiracy, illegal posession and distribution of controlled substances, drug trafficking, witness tampering, perjury, etc. are not worth investigating? Not all criminal investigations result in charges being filed or even convictions; were those also a waste? One benefit of prosecution is to remind us that we, too, could be held accountable if we were to break the law, thereby producing a deterrent effect. You suggest that Nowitsky was motivated by his own ego, but what evidence do you have to support that? Now I’m wondering what the motivations were behind your comments.

  9. Ucrebel

    Our society is slipping into the dark side! laws and rules don’t matter any longer, politicians set the stage for the abusing the laws, the media doesn’t report it. In this case w/ Armstrong, it’s plan to me that someone in the DOJ made the call to stop everything. Lance must have donated some big cash to the Whitehouse!

  10. Bri

    Hey Rad..you might want to read my post more clearly. I said that they should present how much they spent on the investigation to the public. I didn’t say one way or another how I feel about the case or my opinion on LA. You might want to not “clump” comments together by different people.

  11. Roberto

    Lance didn’t need to donate money to the White House. It doesn’t make sense, to try and prosecute a case you can’t win. Someone simply saying they saw you do something, isn’t evidence. If it was, someone could get mad at you, claim you did something, and you would go to jail. When you have someone of Lance Armstrongs stature, it would be stupid to go to trial, with a he said, she said case. The DOJ used common sense, and you should too.

  12. Rsteve

    So the playing field is “level”??what about every racer that was not cheating? Our entire system has made honesty and integrity a farce. It’s obvious he lied and cheated.If that doesn’t bother you it’s sad for you. Cheaters suck.and btw steve you should wear your helmet.I like reading your posts too much!!

  13. Defense Counsel

    The rule concerning grand jury secrecy is Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. If you want to review the text of the rule it’s at this link

    Basically, everyone concerned with the grand jury process is under an obligation to keep the proceedings secret, except for the witnesses. There are some additional exceptions for release of grand jury materials to other law enforcement agencies, military, state, tribal, and foreign, as well as some instances where disclosures could be made in matters involving foreign intelligence or counter-intelligence.

    There is no provision for disclosure to Travis Tygert or USADA, so I think Mr. Tygert will be waiting a long time before he obtains any of the documents relating to this grand jury investigation.

  14. Zach

    Its simple. Think of what the charges were, racketeering, conspiracy, etc…those are hefty and very, very, very difficult to prove even if true. In Lances case, most of this occurred a long time ago and not even in our own country. Even if he doped and peer pressured everyone else into it as well, thats a longshot from conspiracy and racketeering. The FDA’s case did not have to do with the simple dichotomy of did he dope or not (of course he did).

    The ego part stems from the fact he likes to go after high profile people who in the pursuit of and if convicted, obviously gain him huge fame, money, notoriety. Maybe he wants to be some huge political figure, idk. However, there are definitely alterior motives involved that have nothing to do with you or I sleeping at night.

    This country has other issues than professional athletes doping, and although I am explicitly against it, it doesnt bother me on a day to day basis like many of our more pressing issues in the U.S. I just dont think the government needs to get involved and spend more time on steroids than on things like health care. If you want doping to stop, we as a public need to stand up and demand it from the NFL/MLB/etc…until that happens, they dont care cuz the money is still coming in.

    In summary, I am simply being pragmatic about it. There are a ton of real things going on in our country and world that are exponentially more important than what lance did 10 years ago. However, resources are quite finite, and at this time finitely small. It was pretty easy to see from the beginning that this would be a longshot case, and there were many detractors to the cost from the start. It likely cost in the millions of dollars, not to mention other cases that were ignored or shelved, and the opportunity cost.

  15. Zach

    Also, we do not nor should we need other people to be punished in order to do whats right. We should do whats right simply because it is and because we want to avoid all the negative consequences (not simply our self interested ones) if we dont.
    I dont get my morals based on the severity of punishment, that isnt morality at all.

  16. jpete

    Moral compasses are aligned by different things for different people. Some people operate on the basis that the severity of punishment may deter a specific behavior. I think the adherence to certain rules which we hold on conflict with our own values may be subject to our own justifications for bending or breaking the rule. I would like the opportunity to play on a level playing field and am not willing to dope so I am in favor of adding severe consequences to deter those who do not do the right thing just cuz. Simple behavior modification would dictate that you can change just about any behavior with salient enough consequences.

  17. andy

    I wouldn’t have a problem with Armstrong’s (former) teammates getting sanctioned based on testimony. Non Analytical Positive, as far as I am concerned.

    Maybe the moral of the story is: Don’t dope, so that you don’t have to lie about it to a grand jury.

  18. Zach

    So if my moral compass allows for doping is that right? What if it also allows me to kill if I feel like it?
    Of course not, those are absurd ideas. There are right and wrong answers to questions of morality/etc…regardless of peoples actions, inactions or reasoning.
    Im also in favor of severe doping consequences, and consequences in general. However, its not because im afraid if they arent there Ill be to tempted to start taking EPO or robbing banks. I get your intention, but thats all I was saying really.
    Those are there to deter the ppl that, for the most part, will do it anyway. The real issue is the incentive vs. consequence equation and making it matter, right now the wrong side is in the lead. We certainly dont need to go on wild goose chases to prove a point to the general public (unless the point is ineffectiveness).
    Yes minimal consequences may make or break whether we speed or roll a stop light, but for things that are truly questions of character/morality theyre not. I posit that none of the people in this discussion are likely to NEED to know that capital punishment has been recently performed to keep you from killing somebody. That was the idea i was trying to refute.

  19. jpete

    My personal moral compass would say all killing is bad however there are plenty of ppl who believe in the death penalty or killing in war as justified despite their embracement of any of numerous religious philosophies. To pare this issue down to black and white really doesn’t give enough consideration to the complexity of the issue. As far as the death penalty goes, it is ineffective in deterence of murder evidenced by the fact that the state with the highest rate of usage does not have the lowest per capita rate of murder. As far as this whole investigation goes, not prosecuting may add to perception that it is not too difficult to get away with cheating or that if you have enough resources you are immune. I think we all know that lance was using. I had ppl who worked directly with lance telling me in 1996 he was bragging about epo. I don’t like the idea of doping but I don’t hate the player for playing the game.

  20. Zach

    I dont disagree with anything your saying really. The issue is complex, my point being they were out of their jurisdiction for conviction in the first place, so they had to manufacture ideas such as conspiracy, racketeering…which were stretches and the outcome was obvious.
    Why does Novitsky feel the need to go after this so severely is my question (he should work for wada not the fda if this is his bag). Not that the investigation shouldnt have been raised, but if you wanted to make it work, it should have been started by the appropriate authority so that we werent relegated to trying to convict ppl in a roundabout way that was doomed to fail. In this sense it was a waste. There is surely more corruption in government itself than anything even lance could orchestrate.
    Laws are in place surely not for the majority, but those few that will inevitably do bad things.
    The problem is there are a ton of criminals, and lots of people that can be made examples of, etc..but there is not a ton of money or time with which to do it.
    My plea is we just make better use of those resources. I also think if we want things to change in sports and things that are not of serious importance in life, its up to us to mobilize as a group and make our stance known to be effective. We dont have to rely on the FDA to make our sport clean, we can demand it.

  21. Rad Renner


    You have made many arguments suggesting that the federal investigation into Armstrong’s alleged doping conspiracy was an unnecessary waste; however, your arguments are fundamentally flawed and, hence, invalid.

    You posit that it is inherent upon the individual to follow the law, as a matter of character, you say. However, an indiviual’s motivation to adhere to moral guidelines is largely irrelevant when considering the ultimate function of “justice”. It is the collective motivation of society which grounds the need for justice or punishment. A basic understanding of group psychology will explain how ideals of justice and punishment develop in societies and why they are important in maintaining social norms . Laws ARE in place for the majority, to suggest otheriwise is both ignorant and naive.

    Regarding the validity of the investigation: I do not feel that the Armstrong investigation comes even remotely close to “a wild goose chase”. On the contrary, to pursue enforcement of laws which are necessary to the normal function of society is absolutely necessary.

    Do you think that the charges which Armstrong was being investigated for were inconsequential? If so, please state that and why you feel that way. Do you believe that the evidence was inadequate to bring forth charges? Again,please give reason so that we may understand you. But please do not argue that it is a waste of time for society (in the form of government/law enforcement) to enforce it’s necessary laws.

    You are right, we do not have resources to pursue every crime, and for the most part we do not, but important crimes such as these must be investigated. As jpete argues above, not prosecuting may add to the perception that it is easy to get away with breaking the law. That road ultimately leads to anarchy and chaos.

    Additionally, your understanding of jurisdiction is inherently flawed. As a special agent of the FDA, Novitzky is charged with enforcing federal laws involving the use or trade of controlled substances in the U.S. In other words, Novitzky IS the “appropriate authority”. Indeed, in light of all the evidence, if Novitzky were NOT to investigate, then he would be abrogating his legal responsibility and he would be rightly criticized for it.

    While your argument that this investigation was not worth the expense is debatable, the contention that it represents a significant sum in $3.5 trillion of 2010 federal spending, well that’s just silly. Like Bri, you suggest that the investigation was not worth the expense (and seriously, Bri, why else would you care to know the expense other than to question it’s worth?). Perhaps it wasn’t, only time will tell.

    Ultimately, the sum of you comments and their themes (i.e. “indivual character”,”moral compass”, “waste of taxpayers’ money”, “more corruption in government”, the questioning of Novitzky’s character, et al) suggests to me a political motivation behind your arguments. I have seen these themes before in the arguments of Lance apologists, who then go on to link this investigation to political themes which they disagree with, all of which does make me wonder if there is some other agenda that you are ultimately serving.

  22. let's move on

    If you race a bike at any level you know that LA took stuff. He dodged a bullet on a technicality. Let’s hope he stays away from bike racing from now on and we can all get back to racing bikes free from the number 7 and the color yellow.

  23. Zach

    First, im not a lance apologist. I myself have no doubt that he doped. I could care less about trying to preserve his image or whatever your suggesting, so you can drop it. Also, the USADA, the actual appropriate authority is stll at this time going to go on with their case, so good luck to them. Seriously.

    I dont get why you have such a preoccupation with supposed motivations and agendas, thats just weird. The only one that had an agenda was Novitsky, when he went after Bonds he worked for the IRS. Tell me what they have to do with doping athletes. Now he works for the FDA, which makes more sense, but he should really work for DEA/USADA, or WADA. Though i doubt the DEA cares.
    As far as the investigation goes. No, its quite obvious it wasnt appropriate. For many reasons:
    1-Doping is not a federal crime. So they couldnt even pursue Armstrong for the one possible thing that may have been worthwhile. Hence the trumped up case that made the burden of proof incredibly high. Not to mention most if not all occurred outside of the U.S.
    2-Yes the evidence was inadequate to bring forth charges, as that is exactly what happened. The Grand Jury evidence did not bring any charges, thats what happened. Its not some amazing pronouncement on my part, just stating the obvious.
    3- I agree with the sentiment of undermining authority, and this is the worst of it all. Now people may be rightly fearful of trying to go after Lance for actual doping as he has just shown precedence and the support behind it. It weakens every case that may have been more likely to succeed.

    About the accusations, i think they were very consequential, and hence the problem of it all. They were only consequential because the real issue anyone was interested in, and most still believe it was about, was not a federal crime and thus none of their business.
    That was the problem. Its not that difficult to grasp, and understanding that doesnt mean you have to suscribe to any conspiracy theories.
    Lance may still get his day, and this turns out to be a temporary reprieve. That has nothing to do with the whether this case was a good idea. Ive not thought it made sense for the reasons stated multiple times but clearly glossed over.
    How hard would it to have been to do a mental experiment when this idea was pitched?
    N-i want to go after LA for doping?
    FDA-but doping isnt a prosecutable federal crime…
    N-lemme think…fraud/racketeering/conspiracy!
    FDA-maybe, but an incredible proof to demonstrate, and all happened outside the U.S. Plus hes a hero and icon, is very wealthy and will likely get the best lawyers, PR, plus…he has political friends and ties..
    N-but i really wanna get this guy!
    FDA-pass off your evidence to the USADA/WADA, its not ours and the charges we’d have to investigate it dont merit it.

    Its really not that difficult to see it was going to be super tough, and thus…a bit of a wild goose chase. Has nothing to do with his guilt of doping, but theyve really hurt the attempt the correct agency will have now, as Armstrong has momentum and public support and now it just appears like a witch hunt, even if hes truly a witch. Perception has been altered to the wrong side, and its Novitskys fault. He could have had the proper authority do this, but he wanted it himself, thereby decreasing the overall credibility with its failure…that he can just put right next to his Bonds case.

  24. jpete

    The government, or most jobs for that matter, would have the option of piss-testing their employees, right? to make sure they are playing by the rules? I think the issue isn’t so much the doping, but that someone we are backing with government money (postal service), is doing so fraudulantly, and if so and if caught tarnishes his employer’s reputation. Personally, I don’t know all the ins-and-outs of it, but I think I would steer clear of this sport as a sponsor for that reason if I were fully or partially funded with taxpayer dollars. seems like a potential lightning rod for controversy.


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