The former Commissioner of Probation for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts beat the rap on appeal in Federal Court. He was initially indicted and convicted for stuffing the Probation Department with so many deadheads that the building nearly collapsed.
You don't wheel and deal at that level without doing huge lifelong favors for members of the State Legislature which was O'Brien's favorite currency during his long oversightless tenure at the Probation Department.
This is a setback for Federal Oversight of Chicanery on Beacon Hill....yes it may be heavy handed at times and misdirected but its a necessary thing as well.
Massachusetts thanks to a state legislature dominated by democrats is unusually vulnerable to chiseling, Gubernatorial Oversight of certain departments is at best compromised and the requisite Governors sometimes too disengaged for their own damn good (exp Romney).
So the major counterbalance is an alert news media and the Office of US Attorney and now the Federal part of that prong is effectively blunted.
This good news over the short term-for chiselers that is...The chiseling class on Beacon Hill will have a little more freedom of action going forward and a little less fear of the Federales going forward.
THAT is a bad thing, given time and given fresh outrages I can promise you all this will bite us democrats in the ass good and deep when the time comes unless there is a culture change in the Lege...and on that I am not hopeful.