Libertarian law professor Richard Epstein's column this week is about Joseph Bruno, the former Republican leader in the New York State Senate. Professor Epstein says prosecutors have gone too far in prosecuting Mr. Bruno for honest services fraud, risking a violation of the constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy. He writes:
The major lesson from the Bruno case has nothing to do with his guilt or innocence. What matters here is the legal framework in which those issues are decided. Every public official and private citizen should embrace the basic libertarian provision that state power is an evil until it is shown to be a good. There are many good reasons why the Bill of Rights is filled with explicit guarantees against the abuses of the criminal process. All criminal procedure is always a delicate balance between the state's need to control against violence and abuse, and the abuse that it can all too easily commit through excessive prosecutorial zeal, which is not checked by close judicial scrutiny.