The three-man panel appointed by the US Anti Doping Authority to sit on the Floyd Landis hearing handed down a 2 to 1 decision against Landis on September 20th.
The dissent by attorney Christopher Cambell, who has a long record of finding against athletes in doping hearings, was scathing of the anti-doping hearing procedures and severely critical of the Parisian drug-testing lab at the centre of the Landis case. The other two panel members were also critical of the French lab, throwing out the original screening tests, but deeming other results to be above board.
Regardless of whether or not Landis is actually guilty of doping, the fact remains that the system is fucked up, and the athletes are the ones getting screwed. Unless and until WADA and the IOC start holding their laboratories to the same high standards that a court would (at least, an American court, since I’m not as familiar with the justice systems in other nations), then there will always be questions.
Had this case been tried in a criminal court in the United States, it is very likely that Landis would have been found not guilty because there is certainly a reasonable doubt based on the inconsistencies in the lab reports. In a civil court, where preponderence of the evidence is the standard, the outcome is less clear, but on balance, if I were a juror, I would still find for Landis.
This doesn’t mean I think he is innocent; there is a vast difference between not guilty and innocent, but as Blackstone’s Formulation states, “it is better that ten guilty persons escape, than that one innocent suffer.”
If a guilty Landis ultimately manages to win his case, and forces change so that riders like Jason Sager and Bart Gillespie don’t have to deal with the bullshit they endured within the past couple of years, then it’s worth it.
Unfortunately, USADA and WADA seem to prefer Bismarck’s Complement, which states that “it is better that ten innocent men suffer, than that one guilty man escape.”