A former Alameda County Superior Court judge who faced 32 felony counts for allegedly stealing at least $1.6 million from his elderly neighbor in the Berkeley Hills pleaded no contest today to two felonies and will only face five years' probation.
Paul Seeman, 58, who had potentially faced a lengthy state prison term if he had been convicted of all of the charges against him, entered his pleas to one count of elder abuse and one count of perjury at a hearing in Alameda County Superior Court this morning, district attorney's office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 22.
The charges against Seeman stem from allegations that he stole from his neighbor, Anne Nutting, after her husband Lee died in 1999 at age 90. Nutting died at the age of 97 in April 2010.
Berkeley police had investigated Seeman for more than two years before he was arrested in his chambers at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland on June 15, 2012.
Seeman was put on leave shortly after he was arrested and agreed in March to resign from his job as judge.
He had been charged 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.
Drenick said that as a result of Seeman's convictions today, he is barred from holding judicial office and is disbarred from practicing law in California. He will be required not to "harm, molest or annoy" Ali Mehrizi, the victim's surviving husband.
Drenick said Seeman has already paid $299,436 in restitution and will pay an additional restitution amount of $5,649 before he is sentenced.
Seeman earned his law degree from the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall law school and his undergraduate degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz.
He had served as a court commissioner for Alameda County Superior Court from 2004 to 2009 and as a referee pro tem for the county's juvenile court from 1991 to 2004.
A Democrat, he was appointed by former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in March 2009.