Back in 2001, attorney Kimberly L. Grijalva was honored for aiding the poor who couldn't afford an attorney. But now the lawyer - once engaged to a reputed street gangster who was later shot to death - has apparently gone too far in helping her clients, losing her law license after she was convicted of allowing inmates to use her phone system to make more than 900 free and unmonitored calls from jail.
According to newly released Washington State Bar disciplinary actions, Grijalva, 42, a Yakima attorney since 1999, was disbarred in January by order of the Washington State Supreme Court. The bar says her misconduct involved "the commission of criminal acts, interference with the administration of justice, and acts reflecting disregard for the rule of the law."
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports Grijalva was convicted last year of second-degree theft that resulted in two Yakima County jail inmates making hundreds of calls to Grijalva's phone number where they were automatically transferred to another number. Since the original call was placed to an attorney, then connected to an outside line, inmates could talk with outsiders without paying a $2.90 charge or being recorded by the jail.
Grijalva was also convicted of a unrelated misdemeanor contraband charge for once letting another inmate use her cellphone during an attorney-client interview on the maximum-security fourth floor of the jail, the paper reports.
Grijalva avoided jail time in the case and was instead sentenced to 60 days of community service and restitution of $2,290 -- for 916 phone calls at the rate of $2.50 per call.
Her case made headlines in October 2010 when the Yakima-area Violent Crimes Task Force raided Grijalva's Selah home, rushing in as she was sipping coffee in her bathrobe.
Authorities indicated they feared Grijalva because of her known affiliations with gang members. She was also once engaged to Luiz Gonzales, a reputed gang member who was shot to death in 2010.
Gonzales, 32, a suspected police informant, was killed in his driveway, working on his car, by Bobby Ray Zapien, who is now doing 55 years in prison.