Stephanie Merritt named judge for 9th Judicial District

Published 12:31 pm Friday, October 3, 2014

A Southampton County native has been elected recently as a General District Court judge for the 9th Judicial District, which goes from King William County to Williamsburg.



Stephanie E. Merritt, 40, serves as the general counsel for the Virginia Department of Forensic Science. She is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of Richmond’s School of Law and a member of the Supreme Court of Virginia’s Special Committee on Criminal Discovery Rules.

In the past, Merritt has worked as a prosecutor in the state capital for the Fourth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, and she’s clerked for four judges in the Richmond Circuit Court.

Merritt graduated from the Franklin High School, the University of Virginia, and with cum laude honors from the George Mason University School of Law.

Delegate G.M. “Manoli” Loupassi, chairman of the Joint Judicial Selection Committee, told the panel members during the Sept. 17 judicial interviews that Merritt would make “an excellent judge.”

He added that Merritt has “always been known to be very competent, very prepared and very fair.”

Del. Rick Morris (R-64), who served on the judicial selection committee, also had praise for her.

“I worked with Ms. Merritt on the Forensics Science Board, which is a commission that does all the DNA testing for criminal cases,” he said, adding that he was a legislative member while she served as the agency counsel.

“She’s just an outstanding professional. Extremely intelligent, a top-notch lawyer and just great character,” Morris said. “I think she’s going to be an outstanding judge.”

“I was honored to have the bi-partisan support of the Members of the General Assembly,” Merritt said. “It is my goal that the people of the 9th District will leave my courtroom knowing that they received a full hearing, fair treatment and the consistent application of the law to the facts of their case.”

The daughter of June and Bobby Duck of Franklin said she grew up on the family farm on Delaware Road, and now lives in King William County.

Her grandparents are the late Elizabeth and John Moody, who lived in Southampton County, and the late John Irving and Martha Duck, who lived in Isle of Wight County.

Merritt’s term begins Monday, Dec. 1, and she’ll primarily sit in Gloucester, Mathews, Middlesex and New Kent counties.