By Tia Lynn Ivey
Morgan County Probate Judge Charles W. Merritt, Jr. said Friday he will seek a third term in office.
Merritt, who also has served as the city of Madison City Court Judge for the past 31 years, first became Morgan County Probate judge after wining an election in 2012. Merritt began his two terms in office on Jan. 1, 2013. Prior to winning the election, he also helped organize the probate judge’s office and filled in partime for then Morgan County Probate Judge Mike Bracewell.
He has practiced probate law in Morgan County for 32 years and also serves as the Morgan County Traffic Court Judge.
Merritt, 67, is a graduate of the University of Virginia and earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi and a Masters in Law from Emory University.
In the probate office he manages four full time employees and an approximately $250,000 budget. Last year, he said, the court generated approximately $800,000 in fines in the court.
Merritt, who has practiced law for 40 years, said he initially ran for the office to serve the community.
“This is the first time I’ve been in elected public office. I just wanted to give something back to the county and serve the citizens of Morgan County.”
Along with various criminal hearings, the court also handles “all matters of decedents estates, guardianships for minors and incapacitated adults.”
The probate judge’s office also issue marriage licenses and concealed carry permits and “conducts trails on all manner of estate issues,” he said.
Merritt also operates the Merritt Law Firm in Madison.
He said since taking the office he has continued education on probate matters and enjoyed serving.
“I love the job,” he said. “I really enjoy it and I enjoy working with the citizens of Morgan County.”