Twin court attendants cause some confusion

Third generation of twins enjoying work at Linn County Courthouse

Trish Mehaffey
Published: April 7 2014 | 9:03 am - Updated: 8 April 2014 | 8:05 am in Linn County,

Sophie and Savannah George have some strange conversations as Linn County court attendants but not like one might think.

Sophie’s often asked in one day if she’s changed her hair and Savannah has been lectured on doing the schedule wrong but she didn’t do it. Or Sophie may be working on the third floor but a defendant coming up from the first floor will swear they just saw her.

The George sisters have everybody seeing double because they are twins, only six minutes apart. They both have bubbly personalities, they sound alike, have long hair, share a hipster/trendy fashion sense and each wear glasses. They aren’t identical but it takes more than a glance to distinguish one from the other.

“People feel really bad if they think I’m Soph (Sophie),” Savannah, 23, of Anamosa, said. “I usually don’t say anything. There are five girls in our family and we kind of all look alike. People are always confusing us. We are the only set of twins but we are the third generation of twins.”

Sophie, 23, of Anamosa, said it’s mostly confusing to the defendants. Some will approach her and start talking to her about their case because they have talked to her before but previously it may have been Savannah and not Sophie.

“We get some “Hey you” because they don’t want to commit to a name,” Savannah said laughing.

Savannah started her job about six months ago, so when Sophie started court administration sent out an email to staff about the twins but it still throws attorneys and defendants that aren’t around all the time and continue to misidentify the women.

Kellee Cortez, assistant court administrator, said the twins brighten the hallways with their smiles and “bubbly” personalities.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Stephen Jackson isn’t confused by them. In fact, he calls them the wrong name on purpose to confuse them.

“I couldn’t pick them out of line-up,” Assistant Linn County Attorney Brian Claney said. “I’m still confused.”

Assistant Linn County Attorney Elena Wolford said they are “totally different.”

Assistant Linn County Attorney Matt Kishinami said from a distance they look the same but he had a lot of contact with Savannah before Sophie started, so he thought they were different.

Kate Teesdale, a court attendant, said they don’t look alike. They have different personalities.

“I’ve called Sophie the wrong name,” Sixth Judicial District Judge Fae Hoover-Grinde said. “If you glance at them, you couldn’t tell them apart. They are both delightful and they have great energy.”

Being compared to each other isn’t new to the “Twinkies,” as they call themselves, because they have always worked together. They have only worked separately for about a year before Sophie joined Savannah at the courthouse.

“I knew I would like the job because Van (Savannah) did,” Sophie said.

Of course, they acknowledge their similarities, but insist they are different. Savannah is shorter and is more dominant one. Sophie has straight hair and is more trusting of others.

Many court patrons may not see those subtle differences, but just remember there could be a George on two different floors at one time and it’s not a vision impairment.

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