IFBB professional bodybuilder Guy Ducasse was sentenced to one month imprisonment and 400 hours community service after pleading guilty to steroid distribution. United States District Judge Claire Eagan emphatically rejected the prosecution’s argument that Ducasse was “no different than any other drug dealer and should be treated accordingly.” Federal prosecutors had asked Judge Eagan to put Ducasse in jail for 15-21 months.
Guy Ducasse’s attorney, public defender Stephen Greubel, skillfully used testimony by the prosecution’s star witness to lay the groundwork for requesting a reduced sentence of zero months for his client. Greubel argued that the use of anabolic steroids was expected and required to compete as a professional bodybuilder in non-steroid tested competitions. Therefore, Ducasse’s personal use of steroids and his distribution of steroids to other bodybuilders did NOT result in “the corruption of sports or athletes.”
Ducasse’s attorney cited testimony by Agent Brian Surber of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs to support his argument the steroid use was the accepted norm in competitive bodybuilding particularly in the absence of steroid testing.
It is extremely difficult if not impossible for a bodybuilder to compete at a national level without the benefit of anabolic steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Every bodybuilder I have interviewed has told me that EVERY national level bodybuilder is using anabolic steroids as well as other performance enhancing drugs.
… there is no drug testing in the IFBB (The professional bodybuilding association to which Ducasse belongs) events …. [emphasis in original].
Public defender Stephen Greubel argued that the primary reason anabolic steroids were criminalized by the Anabolic Steroid Control Act was to prevent the “corruption of sports and athletes”. However, bodybuilding differs from other sports since steroids are more or less accepted in competitive bodybuilding; steroid testing has not been utilized as a deterrent. Therefore, the use and distribution of anabolic steroids in competitive bodybuilding does not represent a “corruption” of the sport as it currently exists.
The gravamen of the instant offense is not so much Defendant Ducasse’s personal use of steroids, but rather his willing distribution of those steroids to others. Defendant Ducasse does not deny that in the course of acquiring and using steroids for his own benefit, he provided steroids to others. Who those “others” were, however, should be a relevant factor in assessing the appropriate punishment for Defendant Ducasse.
This is not a case where the defendant was distributing steroids to Olympic athletes, world class cyclists, or professional ballplayers. This is not a case where the defendant was providing steroids to teenage or collegiate athletes. This is not a case where the defendant maintained a sophisticated lab or training facility which could test his clients’ blood levels or provide them with masking agents to aid them in avoiding detection of their steroid use by regulatory agencies or federations. In other words, Defendant Ducasse was not involved in the corruption of sports or athletes – one of the principal concerns of Congress in amending 21 U.S.C. § 812(c) to include steroids in Schedule III.
The seven people that testified that Guy Ducasse distributed steroids to them were primarily competitive bodybuilders, allegedly including one IFBB pro bodybuilder, and individuals seeking a bodybuilder-type physique.
Defendant Ducasse’s distribution of steroids was centered almost exclusively upon the training of those who desired to vastly increase their muscle mass – generally for the purpose of bodybuilding. Most of the individuals who provided Agent Surber with evidence against Defendant Ducasse admitted that they were training to increase muscle mass for the bodybuilder’s physique – either for their own personal satisfaction or for the purpose of bodybuilding competitions. Some of the witnesses requested Defendant Ducasse to assist them with their steroid regimen. Others asked if Defendant Ducasse could obtain steroids for them. Some of the witnesses provided steroids to Defendant Ducasse for his personal use. At least one potential witness was himself a professional bodybuilder. No one who used steroids in this case did so unwillingly or unwittingly.
U.S. District Judge Eagan apparently agreed in part with the defense argument and did not see lengthy incarceration of a bodybuilder as a good use of taxpayer funds. It costs taxpayers approximately $25,894.50 per year to incarcerate a defendant.