REDWOOD CITY -- A Pacifica attorney with a criminal record won't face charges for smuggling pills to a San Mateo County jail inmate because the drug turned out to be a natural sleep aid, a prosecutor said.
Erika Jordening, 43, was released from jail Thursday after authorities confirmed the pills she passed to prisoner Aaron Rauls, 43, of Pacifica contained melatonin, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Though it's against jail rules for an inmate to receive contraband, it's not a crime unless the smuggled item is illegal like cocaine, Wagstaffe said.
Jordening, who has had her law license suspended for a botched divorce, was arrested Tuesday after she used her status as a lawyer to get a face-to-face visit with Rauls. She is not his attorney of record, but is the prisoner's girlfriend, said Wagstaffe.
Jordening was already facing trial in September for petty theft and has a 2004 conviction for the same crime, said Wagstaffe. No details were immediately available on those cases.
The state bar suspended Jordening's law license in October 2003 when she didn't respond to state bar charges she failed to finalize an Orange County woman's divorce, according to bar records. As part of a deal with officials, Jordening was publicly rebuked in January 2004 for the mishandled divorce, but was allowed to resume practicing law.
Contact Joshua Melvin at 650-348-4335. Follow him at Twitter.com/melvinreport.