Wiley Manuel Courthouse

Alameda County Judge Paul Seeman

Usually when we talk about judges in the United States, we give them a pass on the old saying, “judge not, lest you be judged,” seeing as judging is kind of their job and whatnot.

Not so much for one local judge in Alameda County, California. This jurist has been arrested for allegedly financially abusing an elderly woman who was his neighbor.

As of last night, our Judge of the Day was languishing in a cell in the district he used to preside over. Where did the veteran jurist, who had long worked in juvenile justice, go wrong?

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I was called to serve jury duty yesterday morning in the pastoral East Bay suburb of Walnut Creek, in Contra Costa County, California.

I only had to stay until about lunchtime, because I actually don’t live in that county, and shouldn’t have been called anyway (my driver’s license still has my parents’ address on it, blah blah). I spent the morning waiting and getting general instructions from the jury clerk. But I was excused pretty much as soon as we actually got into the courtroom, so I didn’t have to have my friend call in a bomb threat to escape serving, like this brainiac.

My colleague Elie Mystal wrote about his jury service somewhat recently, and I have no desire to be repetitious. What was interesting about my experience yesterday was how completely different was from when I was called last year in Oakland.

Let’s just say, “the wilderness downtown” has very different meanings depending on whether you’re in the suburbs or the city….

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