POUGHKEEPSIE – Jessica Segal, a 17-year prosecutor for Dutchess County, officially kicked off her campaign bid to challenge Republican Dutchess County Court Judge Peter Forman on Wednesday.
Prior to leaving the district attorney’s office, Segal had risen to the rank of senior assistant DA under William Grady, and had been responsible for the prosecution of thousands of misdemeanor and felony crimes including aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, and DWI.
The Democratic judicial candidate was also instrumental in creating the county’s forensic evidence team.
“I look at how crime has affected our community and I ask myself ‘how can I do more?’ and I feel that I can have the most impact on the community by serving as a County Court judge in Dutchess County,” said Segal as she welcomed supporters to the kickoff gathering. On the biggest issues facing the criminal justice system Segal said “We have to deal with the opioid epidemic for treatment; we have to deal with veterans getting treatment. I bring a balance of strength and compassion,” she said. “There is a time and a place for prison and there is a time and a place for treatment and my experience as a prosecutor and a defense attorney brings the perspective of both sides to county court and I am ready to take on that challenge.”
Former Dutchess County Chief Assistant Public Defender David Steinberg is supporting Segal’s bid to unseat Forman. Steinberg had served as Hyde Park Town Justice and Acting City of Poughkeepsie Judge prior to retiring. “I’ve encountered Jessica in my time as an attorney and during my time as a judge. She prosecuted many difficult cases including vehicular homicide and vehicular assault, and other traffic fatalities. I have always been impressed with her fairness and ethics, and that is why I am supporting Jessica.”
John Ventosa, an attorney practicing in Poughkeepsie endorsed his colleague saying “I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know Jessica very well over the last 7 years, both in and out of the courtroom. As an attorney, she has always been an unabashedly zealous and effective advocate that has consistently displayed nothing but the highest level of ethical integrity. But perhaps more importantly, as great of a lawyer she is, she’s an even better person, which, in my opinion, is integral to the role of Judge.”
In addition to establishing a private law practice in 2017, Segal serves as an adjunct professor in the criminal justice program at Dutchess Community College and works part-time as an assistant DA for Putnam County. Segal also serves on the board for the Council on Addiction Prevention and Education of Dutchess County.