D.C. Superior Court trial lawyers are expected to vote to end their 11-day strike today as a result of a compromise agreement reached yesterday with the court's chief judge.
Throughout the afternoon, a committee representing the trial lawyers and two prominent attorneys selected to act as mediators met with Superior Court Chief Judge H. Carl MoultrieI negotiated a compromise to a list of demands which had been made by the trial attorneys.
The 160-member D.C. Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association had voted to strike and refused to take court-appointed cases to protest the strick courtroom policies of Judge TimMurphy, who in recent weeks has sentenced two attorneys to jail terms for being tardy for appearances in his court.
One reason that the strike has been seen as less than successful is that private attorneys and lawyers represeting the Public Defender Service have taken on cases declined by the trial lawyers.
The agreement with Judge Moultrie, sources said, centers on his willingness to assist in providing a courthouse mechanism which would inform judges as to lawyers' whereabouts in an attempt to avoid putting judges in a position of citing late-appearing attorneys.
The judge told a lawyers committee, however, that he had no control over whether judges could penalize lawyers for being late. He assured the attorneys, according to one source, thathe himself would never sentence an attorney to jail for such a reason.
Moultrie apparently is unwilling to compromise on a request by the attorneys that Judge Murphy be rotated out of the criminal division "for a cooling off period." However William Blair, head of the Trial Lawyers Association, said that he expected "somewhere in the future with any definite time . . . some action might be taken on(that) issue."
According to Irvin Foster, one of the lawyers who met with the committee Moultrie has made "a significant gesture indicating that he understood our problem and our plight."
Foster and Blair predicted that as aresult of Moultrie's willingness to respond to the lawyers' grievances, the Trial Lawyers Association would vote to end the strike at a noon meeting today.
The trial lawyers creditied two District lawyers Stephen J. Pollack, president of the D.C. Bar Association, and James Bierbower, president-elect with acting as successful mediators in the dispute.