D.C. Superior Court lawyers who represent indigent clients voted yesterday to continue their two-day-old strike until Chief Judge H. Carl Moultrie I agrees to act on a list of grievances concerning the treatment of lawyers by some judges.
Fifty members of the 160-member Superior Court Trial Lawyers Association voted, 31-19, to continue the strike. It was called last Thursday to protest recent instances in which Judge Tim Murphy held two lawyers in contempt of court and sentenced them to jail for showing up late in his courtroom.
Attorney Wallace Shipp, vice president of the association, who lobbied among fellow lawyers to suspend the strike in exchange for negotiations with the chief judge, resigned following the meeting yesterday.
"I felt the strike action has been misdirected," Shipp said later. "Most judges are not like Judge Murphy. Most judges have worked hard to improve conditions in the court for trial lawyers. Since I've been a prime negotiator for the lawyers, I felt my effectiveness as a representative for the group was diminished by today's vote."
Association president William Blair said he will call for an end to the strike if Moultrie puts in writing his promise to "seek specific remedies" to problems listed by the lawyers.
Yesterday, five members of the association took assignments to new cases, along with a half dozen other private attorneys and several Public Defender Service lawyers. Between them, they handled the 62 new cases that entered the court system yesterday.