Beth A. Merkin, J.D.


J.D., University of Connecticut School of Law
B.A., Brown University

About Beth

Beth Merkin spent her thirty-three-year career as a public defender in New Haven where she represented indigent persons who were accused of committing serious felony offenses. She has handled thousands of complex criminal matters at every stage of the court process where clients faced charges ranging from murder, to sexual assault, to serious assaults, to robberies and home invasions. She has tried many cases to verdict, including thirteen homicides.

Professor Merkin has significant experience with investigative preparation, plea-bargain negotiations, motions practice, sentencing mitigation, and the handling of post-conviction litigation. She developed particular interest in the areas of DNA and other forensic disciplines, child abuse cases, mental health defenses and competency claims, the law of interrogations, and juvenile re-sentencing issues. Professor Merkin has extensive experience interfacing with collateral agencies such as DCF, DOC, DMHAS, Probation, Parole, and other community-based mental health and substance-abuse providers. She was the supervising attorney for the New Haven Judicial District Public Defender’s Office for the last several years of her service.

Professor Merkin was an active mentor and supervisor to many student interns during the entirety of her career, on both the undergraduate and law school levels. She frequently worked with the legal clinic at Yale Law School, and she directly supervised Liman Fellows who had been placed in the New Haven public defender’s office. She has been an adjunct professor at Gateway Community College for many years, where she taught various courses in the Criminal Justice Department. She also provided trainings on an ongoing basis to newly-hired public defenders, to hearing officers at the Department of Parole, and to SAFE forensic nurses. From 2021-2022, she served as the Interim Inspector General for the City of Hartford, where she investigated and reviewed citizen complaints of police misconduct. Professor Merkin also holds an adjunct teaching position at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where she is a clinical fellow at its Criminal Defense Clinic.

Courses Taught
  • CJST 2217 Criminal Procedure I
  • CJST 3399 Professional Practices in Criminal Justice
  • CJST 4501 Criminal Justice Internship
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