a tale of law and disorder
The case against Michael Segal was a confusing mess of contradictions.
In essence, Segal was accused of mismanaging Near North Inusrance, the company he had spent decades building. The government claimed he misappropriated funds, and defrauded his clients.
On the surface, the charges may have seemed simple. Yet the closer you looked, the less sense they made. To begin with, there was one undisputed fact: not one of Michael Segal's clients ever reported a financial or service loss of any kind, an item the judge who presided over the case couldn’t help but remark upon in the record.
Inane as the concept of victimless fraud may seem, it is only the beginning of the case’s many layers of madness. To dig deeper is to discover a nightmarish saga of cyber-crimes, unwarranted surveillance, corporate saboteurs, and overzealous prosecutors. It is a sensational example of over-criminalization, as the entire government case was based on stretching a supposed violation of a state accounting regulation into a federal crime.
In subsequent re-evaluations of the case, numerous legal observers have stated that Segal was clearly over-charged and over-punished; and further, many have questioned whether he ever should have faced a criminal indictment to begin with.
As part of his commitment to legal advocacy and reform, Michael Segal has elected to share as much of his story as possible. To that end, in addition to co-authoring the legal memoir Convicted at any Cost, he has collected the reams of primary evidence, court documents, and filings that comprise his case record, and made them available here.
This considerable catalogue is perhaps too exhaustive for a casual reader. It will, however, likely be of interest to the many journalists, attorneys, business people, and law students who have come to recognize the incredible questions relating to cybercrime, due process, insurance law, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments that arose from Michael's prosecution.
It is Michael's hope that this trove may be of use to future business leaders, legal professionals, and law makers who wish to improve the imperfect judicial system they inherited.
The following documents provide overviews and context for Michael Segal's case. They should offer readers with little to no frame of reference a thorough entry into the story.
KEY ISSUE SUMMARIES
The collected archive has been organzied within varying areas of legal and scholarly interest. Please note: while an intense effort has been made to include as many primary documents as possible, the collection may continue to grow as new materials become available, and/or are digitized.
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
The following organizations work in varying capacities to encourage judicial reform, and improve the American legal system. Aside from standard donations and charitable gifts, Michael Segal is not professionally affiliated with these groups.
Accounts of serious issues within the justice system appear regularly in major newspapers all across the country; though the less "thrilling," non-violent cases rarely seems to capture significant attention.
Here are some typical examples:
June 18, 2018
What Happens When Prosecutors Break the Law?
New York Times | A major scandal unfolding on Long Island over the last 13 months shows how the justice system all too often falls silent when the culprit is a prosecutor, and the victim is an ordinary citizen accused of a crime.
By Nina Morrison
Jan. 17, 2018
Prosecutors Had the Wrong Man. They Prosecuted Him Anyway.
New York Times | Robert Jones spent more than 23 years in prison before being cleared of a murder he did not commit. Today, Mr. Jones sued, charging that prosecutors had deliberately and repeatedly covered up evidence that would have undermined the case against him
By Michael Wines
March 8, 2017
Another study finds few consequences for prosecutor misconduct
the Washington Post | The New England Center for Investigative Reporting just published a massive study of prosecutor misconduct in Massachusetts going back to 1985. The report found more than 1,000 cases in which misconduct was alleged by criminal defendants and 120 in which a state appeals court reversed conviction due to misconduct.
By Radley Balko
April 6, 2016
Prosecutors have too much power. Juries should rein them in
the Washington Post | In today’s system, prosecutors hold almost all the cards. The prosecutor’s unreviewable decision whether to charge someone with a crime is, for all practical purposes, the most important part of the criminal justice system, yet it is a decision to which no due process attaches.
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds
Aug. 3, 2015
Ex-Justice Dept. Officials Argue Against Federal Prosecutors in Supreme Court Brief
New York Times | An extraordinary brief filed last week in the Supreme Court has put the Justice Department in an awkward spot.
By Adam Liptak
April 8, 2015
When everything is a crime
the Washington Post | Criticisms of the overcriminalization of American life might catalyze an appreciation of the toll the administrative state is taking on the criminal justice system, and liberty generally.
By George F. Will
Jan 7, 2015
The Overcriminalization of America
Politico | It is surprisingly easy for otherwise law-abiding citizens to run afoul of the overwhelming number of federal and state criminal laws. This proliferation is sometimes referred to as “overcriminalization,” which affects us all but most profoundly harms our disadvantaged citizens.
By Charles Koch and Mark V. Holden
Jan. 4, 2014
Rampant Prosecutorial Misconduct
New York Times | In the justice system, prosecutors have the power to decide what criminal charges to bring, and since 97 percent of cases are resolved without a trial, those decisions are almost always the most important factor in the outcome.
By The Editorial Board
Dec 28, 2011
Justice and Prosecutorial Misconduct
Wall Street Journal | Michael Morton was exonerated this month after being wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and serving nearly 25 years in prison. In seeking to prove Mr. Morton’s innocence, his lawyers found evidence in recently unsealed court records that the prosecutor in the original trial had withheld critical evidence that may have helped Mr. Morton.