Three Louisville prosecutors punished -- one fired -- for violat - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Three Louisville prosecutors punished -- one fired -- for violating policy in traffic cases

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A long-time Assistant Jefferson County attorney has been fired and two others punished for their handling of speeding cases.

Jefferson County Attorney Mike O'Connell fired Tony Ambrose on Monday because of his "refusal" to follow office guidelines in traffic cases, "despite being instructed many times to do so," according to his termination letter. 

Prosecutor Bruce Niemi was suspended for five days last week and Lonita Baker was reprimanded on Wednesday for similar incidents, according to letters from O'Connell.

Ambrose was initially reprimanded on March 25, 2016, for amending a speeding ticket from driving 45 miles per hour over the speed limit to a careless driving charge, a "gross deviation from office policy," according to his termination letter.

The policy bars prosecutors from amending charges of driving 36 miles per hour or more over the speed limit.

In December, in a case in which someone was accused of driving 47 miles per hour over the limit, Ambrose offered a reckless driving guilty plea and traffic school, dismissing the speeding charge because "there is no video," according to the letter.

But on Feb. 23, Ambrose was told he could have taken the case to trial without video, based on other evidence, including testimony from the police officer.

Instead, he again violated office policy by amending the case. 

"You have been counseled many times on your failure to follow office guidelines," O'Connell wrote. "… you continue to choose to significantly deviate from office guidelines."

Ambrose, who has been with the office since 1992, could not be immediately reached for comment. 

Niemi was initially reprimanded last March for mishandling two traffic tickets, offering plea agreements that were against office policy.

And in December, Niemi allowed a defendant accused of driving 36 miles per hour over the limit to plead to an amended count of reckless driving.

Baker admitted she "dropped the ball" by not responding to a defense attorney's request from evidence in a speeding case and allowed a plea agreement that violated office policy, according to her letter from O'Connell.

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