American, Soviet Lawyers May Observe Cases, Says Bar Leader / Expression of Intent Reached

Article excerpt

American and Soviet lawyers may soon be able to observe each country's trials and other judicial preceedings in civil and criminal cases through visitation and exchange programs, according to American Bar Association President Eugene C. Thomas.

A verbal expression of mutual intent that will lead to open and free observations of trials and other judicial proceedings by American and Soviet lawyers was entered into with the Association of Soviet Lawyers' President Alexander Sukharev, Thomas said. Sukharev is also minister of justice of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.

Thomas described the agreement by the two presidents as a "major breakthrough" and commitment to best efforts to bring their respective associations and countries behind the program. "This is an example of solid achievement in the advancement of human rights and improvements of justice that the program we are pursuing is designed to accomplish," said Thomas.

"Critics and skeptics of our dialogue with the Association of Soviet Lawyers have long urged me to pursue a trial observer program between our nations," he said. "In fact, I have been working on this with Sukharev for a very long time, pre-dating those suggestions from others, but public announcement would have been premature without a solid understanding. Now I have that.

"Sukharev understands and agrees that I am making this public announcement as evidence of the reliability of our mutual commitment."

Thomas said he is confident that the American Bar Association can get governmental cooperation. . .

- Ron M. Barnes, Clyde V. Crutchmer and Robert O. O'Bannon have been named to the board of directors of the law firm McKinney, Stringer & Webster P. …