Prominent land-use attorney Dwight Merriam will have to wait until at least July 9 to hear his legal fate after being arrested May 1 for alleged domestic violence against his fiancee.
Merriam, a long-time partner for Robinson & Cole who is now on leave from the firm, was supposed to appear in Enfield Superior Court on Monday for a hearing, but his case was continued to July 9. He is charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct.
Simsbury police charged the 72-year-old Merriam after his fiancee, an unnamed Russian woman, accused him of chasing her around his house and assaulting her with a frying pan. Police said Merriam left a softball-sized red mark with purple overtones on her hip.
Merriam, who left court at about 1 p.m. Monday, declined to comment on his case. Merriam is represented by Anne Dranginis, member of the law firm Pullman & Comley. Dranginis did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Merriam told the Connecticut Law Tribune soon after his arrest that he and his fiancee had sought counseling and had met with the court’s Family Services Unit in Enfield.
We’re “working on getting past the trauma of finding ourselves in the judicial system,” he wrote in a statement at the time.
Merriam is a Yale-educated litigator who founded Robinson & Cole’s land use group in 1978, and was a member of the firm’s real estate development group, according to its website. He serves on the Connecticut Law Tribune’s editorial board.
Merriam is a veteran attorney with more than four decades of experience representing property owners, developers, governments and individuals in zoning appeals, condemnation actions, cases involving the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and other matters.
The police report states Merriam met his fiancee at the University of Connecticut Law School, where he was a professor. The pair started dating in 2013 and, the police report said, he “paid for all of her school tuition.”
The woman told police she’d sign a prenuptial agreement to protect Merriam’s assets if the couple married, and that the attorney would pay her $50,000 to return to Russia if they separated. She told police Merriam refused to pay her the money, causing the argument to escalate.