Lawyer scolded after client’s twin appears instead
Saturday, December 17, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri judge was irate this week when he discovered a man appearing before him on a robbery charge actually was the defendant’s identical twin brother.
As a result of the switch, defense attorney Dorothy Savory could be tossed from the case, cited for contempt and brought before a state disciplinary panel.
“I’m just so furious right now,” Jackson County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Garrett said Wednesday upon discovering the man sitting next to Savory during a preliminary hearing was Darion White, the twin brother of robbery suspect Darrel White.
The Kansas City Star reports Garrett called the case of State v. Darrel W. White Jr., and asked Savory if her client was in custody. She replied that he wasn’t, but noted he was in the courtroom.
When the judge asked “Mr. White” to come forward, Darion walked up and sat next to Savory.
Assistant Prosecutor Janelle Tanganyika put the victim on the stand and asked her to identify the man who attacked her. The victim pointed to Darion White.
About that time, Darrel White was stepping off an elevator in the hall outside the courtroom. The police officer who had arrested him was sitting outside the courtroom, waiting to be called to the stand, when he realized the man looked just like the guy he had busted for the robbery.
In about a minute, he had Darrel White in custody again and got word to the prosecutor about what had happened.
After Garrett called a recess, Savory acknowledged the man next to her was not her client, but she insisted that she had not intended to mislead the court.
“For the dignity of this court, your actions are disrespectful,” the judge is heard saying on a recording of the proceeding that was reviewed by the newspaper.
When the court went back into session, Savory noted she was recording the hearing with her own recorder and appeared surprised that her conduct was being called into question.
“My client was not planning on testifying at all,” she told the judge. “My client was not the one I called to come to the table. This honorable court asked for Mr. White, and that’s who’s at the table today. Mr. White.”
Garrett was not amused.
“It was presented to me, it was presented to this court and it was presented to the state that the person sitting at that table was your client,” he said.
“Was it your intention to bring someone else up to this counsel table so she (the victim) could misidentify him?”
“No, your honor,” Savory responded.
Darion White was called to the stand and said he was there because Savory asked him to be.
“I’ve got to take a recess,” Garrett said. He continued the hearing until Jan. 9 and said the circuit’s presiding judge would decide whether Savoy would remain on the case.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said she would have to report Savory to the Missouri Bar for allegedly misrepresenting the identity of the man sitting next to her.
“That’s a responsibility I take very seriously and one I’m heavily reviewing under these circumstances,” Baker said.
Savory previously gained attention when she opened an emergency legal action in Clay County seeking to have custody of missing baby Lisa Irwin’s half-brother transferred from Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley to his mother.
A message left at Savory’s law office by The Associated Press on Friday morning was not immediately returned.