The respected Congress-watcher writes, "A Matter of Life and Death: The Danger of an Out-of-Control State," for the Atlantic. Here's the beginning of this must-read:
The power of the State—of government, in other words—is awesome. And nowhere is that power greater than when it controls life, death, and liberty. The Framers knew this kind of power can corrupt and believed in the principle, articulated much later by Lord Acton, that absolute power corrupts absolutely. They also believed that such power could be grossly misused in the hands not just of individuals acting on behalf of the State but also on behalf of the majority population, creating, in the words of John Adams, "tyranny of the majority." The whole constitutional structure, and the civil liberties built into the first 10 amendments to the Constitution, are grounded in those beliefs.
That immense power over liberty and life is especially evident in the criminal-justice system, in the hands of police and prosecutors.
Related posts are in the prosecutorial misconduct category index.
Ornstein references the recent North Carolina exonerations; earlier coverage, at the link.