Not far away, a few blocks, is the county courthouse where Grimaldi
just a month ago pictured himself having an office.
was working for the law firm of Muck & Muck on the square when he
must have impressed Logan County State's Attorney Michael McIntosh,
because when McIntosh needed an assistant state's attorney, he
offered the job to Grimaldi. That was on Jan. 15. The young lawyer
took the weekend to decide and accepted the post on Jan. 18.
Grimaldi gave his two weeks' notice to the Mucks and planned on
becoming an assistant state's attorney starting Feb 1.
Then came the door slamming in his face. The Illinois attorney
general's office told McIntosh that Grimaldi would not be a good
choice for the position. Not because he wasn't qualified, but
because Grimaldi had been appointed the public defender to Jennifer
Earnest in the Gee family slayings. Although Grimaldi had petitioned
to withdraw as the public defender for Earnest, the job offer was
And so, a young, very bright attorney went from a good job, to a
job he wanted even more, to not having a job at all. Grimaldi summed
up that time period as "one heck of a two weeks."
Grimaldi says he did make some calls around to other counties to
see if prosecuting positions were open, and he says there were some.
But the young man said that in the end he knew he had made a
commitment to practice law in Logan County, and that is what he
decided to do. His wife, Jennifer, reinforced Jim's decision when
she told him, "You don't want to go anywhere else."
Jim met his wife, a farm family girl from Auburn, while in
college. The couple now have 13-month-old twin daughters named
Gisella and Elena. Jennifer currently teaches art in Riverton.
With a determination to make it as an attorney in Lincoln, and
with the support of his wife and family behind him, Grimaldi has now
opened up shop for himself at his second-floor office on South
How Grimaldi got to this place and moment in time is a
Jim was born in Lyon, France, while his parents were there to
study. His parents are Dr. Pam Moriearty and Dr. Gabriel Grimaldi.
His mother is a Lincoln native and the daughter of Jim Moriearty and
the late Frances Moriearty of Lincoln. His father was a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Jim says that shortly after he was born, the family moved back to
Brazil for several years. In 1983 they came back to Lincoln, and
this is where the young Jim Grimaldi grew up.
A graduate of LCHS in 1993, Jim spent one year at ISU before
joining the U.S. Army as a linguistic interrogator, learning to
write, read and speak Arabic fluently. He also was a paratrooper.
After 3 years of a 5 year commitment, Jim was released early in
order to enter ROTC at Southern Illinois and upon graduation was
commissioned as an intelligence officer.
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When asked if Arabic wasn't a very difficult language to master,
Grimaldi shrugged the question off. Both his parents speak several
languages fluently, and although Grimaldi admits he is a bit rusty,
he speaks Portuguese and Spanish as well.
In all Grimaldi was in the service, both active and the National
Guard, from 1995 to 2004.
While in the Guard, he went to law school at the University of
Illinois, where he graduated with honors.
Grimaldi's background in law shows why McIntosh pursued the young
man. A prosecutor in the Sangamon County's state's attorney office
for 2 1/2 years, Grimaldi says he was made the chief DUI prosecutor
after a year and had one of the highest conviction rates in the
He went to work for Muck & Muck because he wanted to get back to
his hometown of Lincoln.
The criminal law side of the legal system has always been
Grimaldi's first love, and he says he will concentrate on that
aspect of the law in private practice.
"My mother always told me to do one thing and to do it well," he
said. "I found that one thing in criminal law. Whether on the
prosecuting or defense side, I find criminal law fascinating,
intriguing and challenging."
Grimaldi also says he has learned a love of community from
grandfather Jim Moriearty, who had an insurance business in Lincoln
for 60 years.
"I saw how satisfied he was having a business here, and I want to
continue that family tradition of having a business here in
Lincoln," he said.
Grimaldi will concentrate on cases dealing with felonies, DUIs,
misdemeanors, traffic charges, driver's license reinstatements and
expungements on a person's record. He says his experience being a
prosecutor gives him knowledge and experience that other defense
attorneys wouldn't have.
The phone number for Jim Grimaldi, attorney at law, is