Friday, December 16, 2011

KC Lawyer appears with Twin Brother of Defendant. Gets hammered by Judge.

This article was recently in the Kansas City Star, about a lawyer that will probably be looking at some problems.  Sometimes it's not like the TV shows, your not allowed to trick the judge and a victim by using someones twin brother as a decoy.

By: Mark Morris of the KC Star

Maybe on one of television’s many courtroom dramas, a defense lawyer could get a laugh when she sits her client’s identical twin at the counsel table, leading a witness to mistakenly point out the man as the robber.  In the plot, perhaps, the actor judge dismisses the charges, and everybody praises the crafty defense lawyer.  In real life, not so much.  Such a stunt, which happened in the Jackson County Courthouse Wednesday, could get the lawyer tossed from the case, cited for contempt and hauled up in front of a state disciplinary panel.  Not to mention it really ticked off the real-life judge.   I’m just so furious right now,” fumed Jackson County Circuit Judge Kenneth R. Garrett III upon the discovery.

Jackson County prosecutors moved Thursday to have criminal defense lawyer Dorothy Savory held in contempt and removed from the case after she appeared the day before with her client’s twin brother at a preliminary hearing.  County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker also said she is duty bound to report Savory to the Missouri Bar for allegedly misrepresenting to a judge the identify of the man sitting next to her during a preliminary hearing on a robbery charge.  “That’s a responsibility I take very seriously and one I’m heavily reviewing under these circumstances,” Baker said.

Before the “faux” defendant’s true identity was learned, the robbery victim had identified him as the man who had grabbed her purse on Sept. 29 near 40th Street and Warwick Boulevard.  Savory did not return messages seeking comment Thursday.  On Wednesday, however, once the switcheroo was obvious, she conceded that the man at the counsel table was not her client — not that she had ever 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, reviewed by The Kansas City Star.  When Garrett called the case of State v. Darrel W. White Jr., he asked Savory if her client was in custody. She replied no, that he was in the courtroom. Garrett then asked “Mr. White” to come forward.  But it was Darion White, not Darrel, who stepped up.

In short order, Assistant Prosecutor Janelle Tanganyika put the victim on the stand. She described the strong-armed robbery and identified the man sitting next to Savory at the counsel table as her assailant.  About then, outside in the hall, the elevator door opened and the arresting police officer in the case, who was outside the courtroom waiting to be called, noticed something familiar about the fellow getting out.  He looked just like the guy busted for the robbery.  But that guy was in the courtroom, wasn’t he?  It took about a minute before he had Darrel White in his custody once more.  The officer got word to the prosecutor and the judge agreed to a recess.  When everyone gathered again, Savory, who oddly noted that she was recording the hearing with her own recorder, appeared mystified that her conduct could be called into question.  “My client was not planning on testifying at all,” she explained Wednesday. “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 having none of her tap dancing.  “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,” the judge 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.  When the wrong twin was called to the stand, he said the only reason he was there was because Savory “asked me to.”  “I’ve got to take a recess,” Garrett said. He announced that he was continuing the hearing until Jan. 9 and would let the circuit’s presiding judge decide whether Savoy would remain on the case.

Jay Daugherty, a former Jackson County Circuit Court judge, recalled a case from many years ago when a defendant’s brother appeared in his place at a bond hearing, but without the lawyer’s knowledge. When a clerk noticed the switch, the brother confessed, saying his brother was out of town and couldn’t make the hearing. Nothing much came of it, Daugherty remembered.  Daugherty said all lawyers have a duty under Missouri law to report unethical conduct by their colleagues when they see it. Judges also expect lawyers practicing before them to speak the truth.  “We all understand that lawyers have to argue legal issues in the light most favorable to their clients,” Daugherty said. “And, they are obligated to argue the facts in a truthful manner.”

Savory recently attracted some notice when she opened an emergency legal action in Clay County, seeking to have custody of the half brother of missing baby Lisa Irwin transferred from Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley to his mother.  In a Sept. 19 post on her Twitter account, Savory suggested that her legal practices could be unorthodox.  “Other lawyers think we’re crazy!” she wrote. “They don’t know what we know. They don’t see what we see. They don’t believe what we believe.”
To reach Mark Morris, call 816-234-4310 or send e-mail to

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

KU's Ben Mclemore gets arrested...Why this actually is kind of a big deal for him.

By now everyone already knows that Ben Mclemore was arrested for failure to appear on a MIP charge.  If you haven't seen this already here is the article in the KC Star.

KU’s McLemore arrested after failing to appear in court on underage drinking charge

A first semester that was already frustrating for Kansas freshman guard Ben McLemore got worse Tuesday when he was arrested after failing to appear in court.  KU coach Bill Self said that McLemore, a St. Louis native, was cited for possession of alcohol on Dec. 6 and did not show up for his court date.  Self said the incident “is obviously not acceptable. Ben, not 21, was given a citation earlier for possession of alcohol at Abe and Jake’s, a local Lawrence establishment. He exercised poor judgment. He also did not let anyone know that he had been cited and had a court appearance because, certainly, we would have made sure he was there.  “This will be a learning experience for him and probably a fairly costly one. Any other discipline will be handled in-house.”

McLemore, KU’s highest-ranked freshman at No. 34 nationally by, was ruled ineligible to play this season by the NCAA because of issues related to his high school academic transcripts. McLemore has not been allowed to practice this semester but is expected to join the Jayhawks for practice after finals are completed later this week.

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Now, first of all it is pretty stupid to get arrested because you failed to appear at a court date.  People need to learn that it is not a suggestion that you show up to court.  You can't not go because you had to work or had school.  The only reasons to miss court are if you are dead or in jail somewhere else.  Those are really the only two reasons.  

Second, A MIP or Minor in Possession has some serious consequences if he is convicted.  For example, he will loose his driver's license.  It's mandatory.  He will have to pay a fine, (minimum of $200) he can get up to 30 days in jail,  he has to go to an alcohol education class, he has to do 40 hrs community service.  There are worse things he could have done but it's not just a simple pay a fine and be done with it case.

Third, if he takes a conviction he will have a criminal record.  With the internet it's very easy for a prospective employer to run a background check on an applicant and hold it against them if something shows up.

Fourth, because he got arrested for failure to appear now he is going to have an arrest recordArrest records are just as easy to access and an employer can hold them against you also.

Fifth,  if he takes a conviction he is going to have to wait three years after he gets off probation before he is able to have the record expunged, and he will have to go through all the hassle.

Sixth, his car insurance will surely increase.  The mandatory suspension will be recorded on his driving record and his insurance company will have access to that information.

Now in the grand scheme of things it's not the end of the world that this kid got caught drinking.  I think we are all not under the impression college kids don't drink.  But MIPs have serious consequences and kids need to know what they are getting into before they take a plea or go into court.  I really hope that he will realize his mistake and take care of it responsibly.  It's just a mistake that a lot of kids make, so don't be too hard on the kid.  Rock Chalk!