Friday, March 22, 2013
Alameda Judge Agrees to Resign in Deal With CJP
By a MetNews Staff Writer
An Alameda Superior Court judge, facing felony charges that include elder financial abuse and grand theft, will resign under an agreement with Commission on Judicial Performance, the CJP said yesterday in a release.
“Pursuant to a stipulation between Judge [Paul] Seeman and the commission, Judge Seeman has agreed to resign from judicial office immediately and not to seek or hold judicial office, or accept a position or assignment as a judicial officer, subordinate judicial officer or judge pro tem with any court in the State of California, or accept a reference of work from any California state court, at any time in the future,” the commission said. “In light of Judge Seeman’s resignation from judicial office, the commission has agreed to defer its preliminary investigation of Judge Seeman and further proceedings until his criminal case has been resolved.”
Seeman’s case is scheduled for preliminary hearing setting April 18, Bay City News Service reported.
An amended complaint was filed March 1, adding additional charges to the complaint filed last year. Seeman stands accused of stealing at least $1.6 million from a 97-year-old neighbor in the Berkeley Hills over the course of more than 10 years.
As reported by Bay City News Service, the amended complaint charges Seeman, who is free on bail, with 12 counts each of perjury and offering a false or forged instrument, three counts each of elder theft and grand theft and two counts of unauthorized disclosure of information. All the counts are felonies except for the last two.
Seeman allegedly obtained control of Anne Nutting’s finances, after her husband, Lee Nutting, died in 1999 at age 90.
Berkeley police said in a declaration that they had investigated Seeman—who took a leave of absence from the bench after being arrested last year in his courtroom—for more than two years. They said he sold off Nutting’s art collection and other possessions, tried to bar her from her own home and used her garage to store his 1958 Ford Thunderbird.
Seeman initially befriended Nutting in December 1998 after her husband suffered a fall at the couple’s home in Berkeley and police deemed the home to be uninhabitable due to hoarding, according to the declaration. The Nuttings then moved into the Radisson Hotel at the Berkeley Marina.
Seeman offered to help the Nuttings because they were all alone and had no one to rely on since they had no family, no children and no friends, police said. They noted that Seeman then obtained a durable power of attorney after finding $1 million worth of stock certificates and uncashed dividend checks in the house.
Lee Nutting died on Dec. 29, 1999, and between April and June 2000, Seeman arranged the sale of two properties the Nuttings owned in Santa Cruz, according to the police. By August 2004, Seeman allegedly had taken over almost all of Anne Nutting’s financial affairs, putting his name on her bank accounts as joint tenant and on her investment accounts as a transferee on death.
Police said they began investigating after Nutting got an attorney, who brought the matter to them in March 2010. Nutting died on April 17, 2010.
Among the new charges against the judge is that he failed to disclose a $250,000 personal loan from Nutting on his statement of economic interests. He is also accused of failing to report investments totaling more than $1.4 million in 40 properties between March 2003 and June 2009.
Seeman earned his law degree from UC Berkeley and his bachelor’s degree from UC Santa Cruz. He was admitted to the State Bar in 1980 and was a deputy county counsel early in his career. He later became a sole practitioner, and was named a part-time Superior Court referee in 1991 and a full-time commissioner in 2004.
Then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Seeman, a Democrat, as a judge in 2009.
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