PACIFICA (CBS SF) — A Pacifica attorney accused of bringing pills to a jail inmate has been released, but is set to stand trial on separate theft charges next month, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

Erika Jordening, 43, was arrested Tuesday as she met with San Mateo County jail inmate Aaron Rauls, also a 43-year-old Pacifica resident, on suspicion of passing him pills during the visit, according to the sheriff’s office.

Jordening is not the attorney assigned to Rauls’ current case, but she obtained a visit with him by presenting herself as his attorney. The two appear to have a romantic relationship, according to District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Attorneys are generally not searched prior to visits with inmates, although they do go through metal detectors, Wagstaffe said.

Jordening was booked into the Women’s Correctional Center in Redwood City and held on $70,000 bail.

However, the pills were later determined to be melatonin, an over-the-counter sleep aid, Wagstaffe said. Prosecutors declined to press charges and Jordening was released Thursday morning.

Her legal troubles are not over, however, as she is scheduled to stand trial on Sept. 24 on petty theft charges, Wagstaffe said.

The charges relate to a Dec. 2, 2011 incident at the Kohl’s store in Colma. While in the store with Rauls, she was stopped by store security with $129 in stolen clothing and $180 in jewelry on her person, Wagstaffe said.

Jordening, who has been licensed to practice law since 1996, was publicly reprimanded by the state bar in 2004 for failing to complete the paperwork in a woman’s divorce for several years, making it impossible for the woman to remarry. However, she is currently an active member of the bar.

Wagstaffe noted that jail inmates are usually disciplined when they are caught receiving contraband from visitors, but said he did not know if Rauls would be disciplined in this case.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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