Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Federal appeals court criticizes prison officials

A federal appeals court in Chicago says was "outright disturbing" that federal prison officials sent a convicted former U.S. deputy marshal to the Texas prison where his father, a convicted former Chicago police officer, died decades earlier.
The unusual criticism of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons came as a panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the 2009 conviction of John Ambrose for leaking sensitive details about a cooperating witness to the mob. A three-judge panel of the court on Thursday encouraged prison officials to re-examine the decision.
"It's really inexcusable" that Ambrose was put in a Texas prison cell overlooking the track where his father, Thomas, died, Judge Diane Wood said during oral arguments a year ago. "The government isn't supposed to torture people," she said.
During the arguments, Judge Ilana Rovner, who wrote Thursday's ruling, called the move "very troubling."
Ambrose, now 43, was convicted of tipping off the mob that Nick Calabrese, a "made" Outfit member, was secretly cooperating with federal authorities and providing information on numerous gangland slayings. Ambrose was assigned to Calabrese's security detail during two visits to Chicago in 2002 and 2003. His testimony in 2007 led to the convictions of four mob figures in the legendary Family Secrets trial.
Ambrose was sentenced to four years in prison for what the appeals panel called a breach of the super-secret witness protection program that was "beyond comprehension."
The appeals court ruling revealed that after Ambrose's actions came to light, other federal witnesses refused to accept protection from the U.S. Marshals Service in the Chicago area.
It also laid out in detail how Ambrose was brought to the FBI headquarters in Chicago in a ruse to take away his firearm for fear that he might commit suicide on being confronted about the allegations in 2006.
Authorities thought the risk was heightened because of his father's conviction for police corruption in 1982.
Ambrose's attorney, Frank Lipuma, didn't return a call Thursday seeking comment.



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