Deputy U.S. marshal to claim good deeds outweigh bad

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October 26, 2009 5:00:33 PM PDT
"No defendant can be defined and sentenced simply by reference to his worst act" contends a lawyer for disgraced U.S. Marshal Service Deputy John T. Ambrose, who was convicted of leaking secret government information to the Chicago Mob.Ambrose, 42, is scheduled to be sentenced on Tuesday morning in a federal courtroom in Chicago and will be asking for a lenient and merciful sentence of probation.

Last April he became the first deputy in history to be convicted of breaching the secrecy of the famed witness protection program, when he was convicted of passing along details about a Chicago Outfit hitman who was going to testify in a major mob prosecution. The protected witness was Nicholas Calabrese and the case was the landmark Family Secrets mob murder investigation. Ambrose was periodically assigned to guard Nick Calabrese.

Calling it an "unforgiveable sin" in the "holy of holies"-the federal Witness Security Program--prosecutors said they realized there was a leak when two Chicago mob bosses were overheard in a prison visiting room talking about having a "mole" inside federal law enforcement.

On FBI surveillance tape, Outfit bosses are heard referring to Mr. Ambrose as "the babysitter."

Ambrose was a decorated deputy with the marshal service and the second highest-ranking member of a regional fugitive task force when he was charged in the leak case in 2006. He ends up facing the same legal fate as his father Thomas, a Chicago policeman who was convicted in the Marquette Ten corruption scandal in the 1980's. Thomas Ambrose ended up dying in prison.

In tomorrow's court hearing for John Ambrose, prosecutors will ask Judge John Grady for a stiffer sentence than the 24-30 month term recommended by the probation department in its pre-sentence report. The government's position is that Ambrose should face a longer period in prison because of the seriousness of his offense and the position of authority he held at the time.

Any time behind bars would subject Ambrose to "immense danger," according to his attorney Francis C. Lipuma. "If incarcerated as a former DUSM (Deputy United States Marshal) and especially in his career apprehending federal fugitives, Mr. Ambrose will find himself quite a target for other inmates. It will be a terribly horrific and difficult time for him. The conviction alone has caused Mr. Ambrose to fall far, and it has humbled him to a great degree. Confinement only will break him." Lipuma states in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

Lipuma will argue that probation would be the appropriate sentence for the defrocked deputy.

"In this instance, the Court is permitted to consider Mr. Ambrose's employment and employment-related contributions, his family ties and responsibilities, and his civic, charitable, and public service and record of prior good works" states the Ambrose filing. "The uncontroverted evidence before the Court demonstrates beyond any doubt that Mr. Ambrose has lived a life dedicated to helping all men and women. He consistently has lived a life filled with unselfish service and compassion for humanity."

Mr. Ambrose, a south suburban resident and father of four, "has lived a life faithful to the teachings of God," according to his sentencing memo.

"He has sacrificed personal gain for the betterment of others who were in need of help and comfort. He has done positive and extraordinary service and good deeds for countless people."


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