6 months ago
Tucson - Judge Anne Segal responded emotionally to questions about a News 4 Tucson investigation.
"Have I made mistakes? Yes. Tell me the one who hasn't made mistakes. Have my mistakes been publicized? I've been flogged. I've been humiliated."
We first reported Monday night that sources say the Arizona Attorney General is investigating some of Segal's rulings in bad check cases to see if she did not follow sentencing guidelines. The 61-year old Justice of the Peace is seeking re-election in a bitter primary against attorney Adam Watters.
"That's what this is all about, to get negative stuff on me in order to make them win the re-election for Justice of the Peace," Segal said.
Two sources told us about the AG's investigation, then it was confirmed in an email to the News 4 Tucson Investigators from Pima County Court Administrator Doug Kooi. He wrote: "Judge Segal made me aware that the Attorney General's office is conducting an investigation related to some cases that were heard in her courtroom."
We first approached Judge Segal on July 30 as she left a public forum at the Oro Valley Public Library. She told us,
"You're making up news that isn't there. I don't know what you're talking about."
That was a day after Segal declined an on-camera interview, saying she'd talk to us in September, after the primary. Then she agreed to come to the KVOA studios to do an interview with News 4 management, but failed to appear twice.
Late Monday afternoon, the judge did show up. Here is what Segal said about her knowledge of the investigation when we met with her on July 30, and what she told KVOA News Director Cathie Batbie on Monday:
News 4: "You haven't talked to Mr. Kooi at all about his statement to us?"
Judge: "No, no I really I haven't. No, I take that back. No, I take that back. I talked to Mr. Kooi. I spoke to Doug Kooi. I told him I got a phone call. That's what he knows. That's what I know."
News 4 Tucson Investigators: "You told me yesterday on the phone you did receive a phone call from an investigator in the Attorney General's office. You said that on the phone to me."
Judge: "I don't know who the gentleman...I don't know...no. I don't know anything you're talking about."
News 4: "Yesterday you did tell me, Judge, that it was an investigator...
Judge: "I don't know what you're talking about."
Judge: "Well, I received a phone call that said there was an anonymous inquiry about anonymous papers. I have no idea what it's about."
News 4: "So how do you know this is regarding the bad check program?
Judge: "I don't."
News 4: "You told me that, you told me on the phone that this was about the bad check program and you weren't certain if this was a positive thing about the bad check program or a negative thing.
Judge: "Well if I recall that's what I thought Mr. Schwartz had told me, that it was about the bad check program.
News 4: "So you didn't ask them what this inquiry was about?
News 4: "What kinds of questions they needed the answers to?"
Judge: "No, we set a meeting up in September. It's back burner, it's not of interest."
We had approached Judge Segal at the library in an empty meeting room. She walked out of the room and we followed, after which she then called News 4 management to complain.
News Director Cathie Batbie said to Judge Segal, "You've said that Mr. Schwartz was aggressive, yelling, interfered with your meeting, and broke it up and made children cry in the library. Do you stand by those comments?" Segal replied, " I probably overstated it. He caught me unprepared."
News 4 asked the Judge, "Shouldn't the voters have a right to know about these things so they can make an informed decision either way when it comes time for them to vote?"
Segal said, "I'd like the voters to make decisions based on my merits. On the things I've accomplished. My mediation programs, my debt collection program. I am doing what I can to make the community a good place, and to be a good judge, that's all I want to do. I'm a good judge."
Judge Segal insists she does not know what someone in the Attorney General's office wants to discuss her with in September.
"And as far as I know," Judge Segal said, "I'm going to get an award from the Attorney General's office.
We will stay on top of this story, and if Judge Segal does get an award from the Attorney General, News 4 Tucson will report that. The Republican primary for Justice of the Peace from the Northwest side is set for Aug. 26.
As always, remember that if you have a story you'd like us to check out, email us at email@example.com, or call 520-955-4444.
6 months ago
TUCSON - According to sources, rulings made by Tucson Judge Anne Segal are being investigated by the Arizona Attorney General. After two sources told us about the investigation, it was confirmed by Doug Kooi, the Pima County Court Administrator. The AG is reviewing Segal's rulings in bad check cases, to see if she did not follow sentencing guidelines when imposing punishment.
We approached Judge Segal at the Oro Valley Public library as she left a public forum. The 61-year old Justice of the Peace, who makes $101,500 annually, is seeking re-election in a bitter primary on the Northwest side against attorney Adam Watters, whom she narrowly defeated in 2008.
We said to her, "I was told by the administrator of the courts that you told him you're being investigated." Judge Segal replied, "And I'm telling you I'm not being investigated. You're making up news that isn't there, I don't know what you're talking about."
A day earlier, Judge Segal declined an on-camera interview when we first asked about an investigation, saying she'd talk in September, after the primary, which is Aug. 26.
In an email to the News 4 Tucson investigators, Court Administrator Kooi wrote: "Judge Segal made me aware that the Attorney General's office is conducting an investigation related to some cases that were heard in her courtroom. She will be meeting with them sometime in August."
So although Segal apparently confirmed the investigation to Kooi, she repeatedly told us when we met her at the library, "I know of no investigation, and I am not being investigated. I am not being investigated by the Attorney General's office.
"My opponent cannot afford TV, so this is a good way to get adverse publicity."
We asked Judge Segal, "But Doug Kooi, who told me this, is the court administrator, he's not your opponent. Why would he tell me this?" She replied, "I have no idea why he would tell you that."
The day after this, Judge Segal complained to KVOA news management that our news crew was aggressive towards her. She also said she was meeting with someone in the Attorney General's office this month about bad check cases. Segal said she'd do a sit-down interview with our news director at the station. She postponed the first scheduled interview, citing a family emergency. She said she'd be there a week later, and failed to appear then.
This is not the first time Judge Segal's actions have been questioned, according to the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct in Phoenix.
She has had four public reprimands. I'm aware of one other judge that has had five.
George Riemer is the Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct. Riemer told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "She has had four public reprimands. I'm aware of one other judge that has had five."
Riemer says the only judge in Arizona with more reprimands than Segal is in Maricopa County.
"Four reprimands is a fairly large number," Riemer said.
-In June of 2010 Segal was reprimanded for interfering in her son's speeding ticket case. This followed a scathing letter from the complainant, Justice Court Presiding Judge Maria Felix, to the Commission on Judicial Conduct. Felix wrote that Segal told her she was only trying to help her son out by lifting his license suspension. Felix said, "I told her as clearly as i could that this was unacceptable, and most of all, unethical of her for taking any action in her son's case." Felix wrote that Segal replied, "Well, report me." Felix also wrote, "I concluded that her continued actions were of grave ethical concern."
-Nov. 2010, Segal was reprimanded for using a fake name while criticizing Watters on a news web site.
-Dec. 2012, reprimanded after she self-reported that she represented herself and her husband in a case...full-time judges are not permitted to represent anyone other than themselves.
-Feb. 2013, reprimanded for violating six provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct in a case
Despite the official reprimands and the AG's investigation, Judge Segal calls criticism of her "political", coming from the Watters' campaign.
Segal told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "That's what this is all about, to get negative stuff on me in order to make them win the re-election for Justice of the Peace."
Riemer, of the Commission on Judicial Conduct, says, "And it's really up to the voters in this particular situation. For the voters to evaluate the credentials, the professional history of each of the candidates."
Late Monday afternoon, Judge Segal did come to the KVOA studios. She did an in-depth, sit-down interview with News 4 management, in which she explained her side of the story. We will have that report tonight (Tuesday) on News 4 Tucson, Live at 10.
Remember if you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 520-955-4444.