Legal Ethics

Lawyer Convicted of Felony Theft re 900 Free Phone Calls Made by Gang Members from Jail

A Washington state criminal defense attorney is facing likely law license repercussions after being convicted yesterday in a bench trial of felony theft for allowing two jailed gang members who had been dating her housemate to make over 900 free phone calls from the Yakima County jail.

Kimberly Grijalva, 41, also was found guilty of a misdemeanor count of introduction of contraband into the jail, because she permitted a jailed client to use her cell phone, reports the Yakima Herald-Republic.

Authorities reportedly feared a major security breach when they discovered 916 phone calls had been made by inmates to Grijalva, whose office number goes to her home phone, over a six-week period and a raid on her home resulted. However, the calls apparently were being made, with Grijalva’s knowledge, to her housemate, Autum Hubbard Scribner, as part of dating relationships, according to the article.

Klickitat County Superior Court Judge Brian Altman, who was brought in to hear the case, said Grijalva knew or should have known Scribner was misusing the free phone privileges she was accorded as a lawyer. Inmates are normally charged $2.50 a call.

The trial attracted considerable attention in the legal community and a number of lawyers and court personnel were in the audience yesterday when Altman announced the verdict at 2 p.m.

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