KANSAS CITY, Mo. - It seems like something out of a bad television court drama, but a metro lawyer may be in serious trouble after apparently trying to pull a fast one on a Jackson County judge in court this week.
Attorney Dorothy Savory is accused of misrepresenting the identity of her client to the judge, the victim and the prosecution after she tried to use the defendant's twin brother on the stand instead of the defendant.
Darrel White was due in court on Wednesday morning on a robbery charge. But when Jackson County Judge Kenneth Garrett asked "Mr. White" to come forward, the wrong Mr. White responded.
"What the lawyer asked me to do is to come and sit in the front row instead of having my brother sit in the front row, so I did that," said Darion White, Darrel White's twin brother, who says that he was just doing what her brother's attorney asked him to do. "(Savory) figured (the victim) was going to point me out. She figured she really didn't know who did it. You know she did an on scene identification and she was just going to point out the person she saw sitting right there."
Which is precisely what the victim did when asked to identify her alleged attacker. When asked who attacked her, she pointed out Darion, who has much shorter hair than his brother. But a police officer outside of the courtroom uncovered the plot when he noticed the real Darrel White in the courthouse hallway.
"After that the judge found out it was me instead of my brother, and he was mad," said Darion White.
University of Missouri, Kansas City law professor Barbara Glesner Fines says that zealous advocacy is a defense attorney's job - but only within the bounds of the law.
"Save from TV lawyer shows, I know of no situation where an attorney has been permitted to engage in that kind of defendant switching in order to test an identification," said Fines, who says that acting as a neutral party, a judge must always be informed of what is going on in their courtroom. "The judge knowing whats going on, that's the cornerstone of a fair legal system."
The Jackson County Prosecutors Office has asked that Savory, who did not respond to FOX 4's request for comment, be removed from the case. Savory could also have her law license suspended or revoked.