F. Clay Merris, Esq.Associate Attorney
Attorney F. “Clay” Merris, IV joined Scaringi Law in January of 2017 as an Associate Attorney practicing in criminal defense, juvenile delinquency, traffic law, family law, and civil litigation. Merris is based in our Newport, Perry County office and has over 10 years of legal experience.
Criminal Defense, Traffic and Juvenile Delinquency:
Attorney Merris is a seasoned criminal defense attorney with 22 jury trials and 40 non-jury trials under his belt. He’s death penalty qualified. At Scaringi Law, Merris has represented individuals charged with Drug, Sex and Firearms offenses, DUI, and Assault among others. Merris is ready, willing and able to take any case to trial. But he also takes pride in negotiating favorable plea deals. Attorney Merris has obtained a plea to a sentence below the minimum range in a Felony Aggravated Indecent Assault case, to probation in a Felony Aggravated Assault and Strangulation case that carried a minimum guideline range of three years incarceration, and to probation in a Felony firearms case involving the falsification of ATF-Form 4473 that carried a minimum guideline sentence of twelve to eighteen months incarceration.
Attorney Merris also handles juvenile delinquency matters and has represented juveniles charged with Theft, Drug Possession and Sexting, among other offenses. In every case Merris has gotten his client into diversionary programs that resulted in expungement and dismissal of the charges.
Attorney Merris also represents individuals charged with various traffic or motor vehicle code violations at the MDJ level and upon appeal, including those charged with Reckless Driving, Driving Under Suspension DUI-related and all types of minor infractions. Merris has obtained outstanding results that minimize the impact on his clients’ driver’s licenses. He has developed a focus on representing commercial drivers involved in all types of CDL infractions, including failing to keep logbook entries, driving overweight and driving in unauthorized areas. Attorney Merris has not had one CDL client lose his license.
Prior to joining Scaringi Law, Attorney Merris served as a Public Defender in the Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office. In this position, Merris represented individuals charged with every type of Misdemeanor and Felony offense from aggravated assault, to sex offenses, to drug delivery and trafficking offenses to DUI where he averaged 100 court appearances per month. Due to his extensive experience representing individuals charged with serious and high-level offenses.
Attorney Merris served as the public defender representative of the Cumberland County Adult Treatment Court Team. He would enroll his clients, who were charged with crimes but addicted to drugs or alcohol, in this program and steer them through successful completion resulting in dismissal and expungement of the charges. Serving on this team of professionals provided Attorney Merris with extensive knowledge and experience in handling criminal cases for individuals suffering from drug and alcohol addiction.
At Scaringi Law, Attorney Merris has also developed an extensive Family Law practice representing individuals involved in divorce, support, custody and protection from abuse. In custody, Attorney Merris has won a very high percentage of his custody cases that have gone to trial. He has obtained emergency custody orders on behalf of grandparents in one case and the mother in another case in which the fathers were found to be abusing heroin. In divorce, Attorney Merris in two separate cases obtained exclusive possession of the marital residence for his clients and prevented the opposing parties from selling and dissipating marital assets. Merris has represented many defendants involved in protection from abuse (PFA) cases and has obtained several dismissals of the PFA petitions and temporary orders.
Prior to joining the Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office, Attorney Merris worked for a local Carlisle-based attorney focusing primarily on criminal defense. Prior to this firm, Merris worked for Keystone Hearings and Appeals, LLC where he assisted the Administrative Law Judge in determining health insurance appeals and at Allied Attorneys of Central Pennsylvania, LLC where he represented individuals in family law, criminal defense, contracts cases, and general civil litigation.
Attorney Merris started his legal career in Perry County when he served as a law clerk at the Perry County Court of Common Pleas in 2008.
Attorney Merris was born and raised in Perry County. He currently lives in Landisburg, Perry County.
Joined the firm
Areas of Practice
Widener University School of Law
- J.D., 2010
Dickinson College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
- Degree: B.A. in Political Science
- Minor: History
- Honors: Member of the Winning Political Science Quiz Bowl
- 4-Year Varsity Letter Winner - Football
Past Employment Positions
- Cumberland County Public Defender’s Office, 2012-2017
- Law Office of Bradford Orr, 2011-2012
- Allied Attorneys of Central Pennsylvania, 2010-2011
- Keystone Hearings and Appeals, LLC, 2010-2011
- Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB), Summer 2009
- Perry County Court of Common Pleas, Summer 2008
- Cumberland County Bar Association
Pennsylvania Bar Association
- Family Law Section
- Criminal Defense Section
- Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
- Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Perry County Chamber of Commerce
- Board of Directors, Historical Society of Perry County
- Member, Rotary Club of Perry County
Blog Entries by F. Clay Merris, Esq.
- Marc A. Scaringi, Esq.
- Melanie Walz Scaringi, Esq.
- Frank C. Sluzis, Esq.
- Brian C. Caffrey, Esq.
- Keith E. Kendall, ESQ.
- Kelly M. Walsh, Esq.
- Karen L. DeMarco, Esq.
- Anthony E. Miley, Esq.
- Judith Twigg Walz, Esq.
- Frank D. Mroczka, Esq.
- Anthony Knabb diDonato, Esq.
- Michael B. Howard, Esq.
- Robert M. Sakovich, Esq.
- Victor G. Myers, Esq.
- John P. Muncer, Esq.