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NAPOLITANO: Zimmerman’s double jeopardy dilemma

There’s a similar judicial miscarriage now underway in New York City

Can the feds legally do this? In a word: no — obviously no. In the federal system, it is very rare for an appeals court to get involved in a case before the case has reached a conclusion in the trial court. The fact that the appeals court is even hearing Mr. Bruno’s appeal at this stage — before any second trial has taken place — is a sign from the appeals court that the feds are not following the Constitution and the trial judge in Albany ought to have known that.

Joe Bruno, nearing the end of his distinguished public career at age 84, is now a symbol of fidelity to the Constitution and an obstacle to a political Department of Justice that lacks that fidelity. If the government can violate a principle as fundamental and universally accepted as the prohibition of double jeopardy — and do so in plain sight by changing the name of a charge — there is no limit to what it can do.

Before he became a tyrant, Abraham Lincoln was a successful trial lawyer. Demonstrating the propensity of an adversary to mislead, he once asked a jury, “If you call a tail a leg, how many legs does a dog have?” Then he answered: “Four, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” Calling an old crime by a different name does not change its essence. A federal appeals court can put a stop to this miscarriage of justice, and it should do so before it spreads its ugly unconstitutional tentacles across the land and Joe Bruno has unwanted company.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jul/18/zimmermans-d...
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