State panel reprimands judge on conduct

The state Commission on Judicial Conduct said Friday that it has reprimanded District Judge Brian Merrick for his conduct while serving in Orleans District Court.

In a one-page news release that provided little insight into the case, the commission said Merrick had repeatedly engaged in conduct “that failed to follow well-established procedural requirements, specifically his failing to engage criminal defendants in legally sufficient plea colloquies in connection with minor motor vehicle criminal offenses.”

The commission said Merrick “has acknowledged that his plea colloquies were legally insufficient and no longer conducts such plea hearings in this manner.”


Howard Neff, executive director of the commission, declined to discuss the case. According to its website, the commission, the state agency that investigates complaints of judicial misconduct, “has the responsibility of preserving both judicial independence and public accountability” and “serves to maintain the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judicial system.”

The law governing the panel lists options for resolving complaints, including dismissal and private reprimand.