San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos has taken an initial step
toward firing one of his most seasoned and respected deputies.
Veteran deputies on Ramos' staff said Wednesday that they believe Ramos has
already notified Grover D. Merritt that he would be terminated by the end of
One of Ramos' top aides, however, insisted that Merritt remained on paid
administrative leave for reasons he said he could not disclose.
He said Merritt has been on leave since Aug. 13.
"I can't say anything else about it," Assistant District Attorney Jim
Merritt, 45, could not be reached for comment late Wednesday.
Merritt, a 17-year veteran of the San Bernardino County District Attorney's
Office, has worked as the lead attorney in the office's appellate division
since 1996, advising deputies on thorny and complex legal issues.
He was named the District Attorney's Office prosecutor of the year in 2002
and has served on the board of directors of the California District
Several senior prosecutors said Wednesday that they were disappointed at the
prospect of his departure.
"As a line deputy I am not privy to the personnel proceedings against him,
but I know losing him is a terrible blow," one veteran deputy district
attorney said. "Grover is one of the most valuable deputies in our office.
He's a walking legal encyclopedia."
Merritt was one of the key authors of a brief filed with the United States
Supreme Court by the District Attorney's Office in a 2003 case that decided
the legality of California's "three strikes" law.
The court upheld the law.