Magazine Feature / People

Merritt’s blog covers crime and justice

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Jeralyn Merritt

Jeralyn Merritt’s entire career has focused on defending the rights of the criminally accused. Whether it’s writing multiple times a day on her popular blog,, serving on Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh’s defense team or appearing as a legal analyst on MSNBC and Fox News, Merritt has always had the same goal — to advocate for the underdog.

“I knew I wanted to be a lawyer ever since I took a political science class in high school that discussed the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’” says Merritt (JD ’73).

After graduating from DU, Merritt worked briefly for a small firm before starting her own practice in Denver, where she primarily handles federal drug cases, white-collar crime and forfeitures.

She gave up her practice for 18 months to work on the McVeigh case, which also led to her role as a television commentator on criminal defense issues. Now Merritt is taking her interests one step further with, which bills itself as “the online magazine with liberal coverage of crime-related and political and injustice news.”

The blog — which, Merritt stresses, is “not a neutral site” — has had more than 15 million visitors since its launch in 2000. Her audience ranges from lawyers and policymakers to the general public—all of whom are invited to comment on Merritt’s discussion of topics ranging from the rights of the criminally accused to the war in Iraq.

Although Merritt writes most of the articles, three other lawyers regularly contribute to the site. Blogging, Merritt says, has helped her reach larger audiences than television commentary did.

“You can make your comments on television and a million people may see you, but after two minutes they’ve forgotten what you said,” Merritt notes. “But blogging stays up there perpetually, and people keep finding it.”

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