A high-profile civil rights attorney is accused of practicing Texas law without a state license.
In a case filed Monday by the Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee, attorney Lee Merritt "engaged in unauthorized practice of law." Merritt is licensed to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, but not in Texas.
The Unauthorized Practice of Law Committee is a group appointed by the Supreme Court of Texas.
According to court documents, Merritt has lived in Texas since 2014. The next year, he applied to the Board of Law Examiners in order to practice law in the state of Texas, but he didn't end up taking the exam. He hasn't taken the exam since then.
In a statement to WFAA, Meritt said the suit was initiated by the complaint of Tarrant County District Attorney Sharen Wilson. He said Wilson complained to the state bar after his office publicly demanded she pursue the appropriate criminal charges against Officer William Martin and neighbor Itamar Vardi for their roles in the assault of his client, Jacqueline Craig and her children. Merritt says Wilson went to the UPLC with a "false claim that I was engaged in the unlawful practice of law in Texas."
Merritt says he is in good standing before the Northern District of Texas United States District Court, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the State of New Jersey and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania United States District Court.
"The claims levied against me are without merit and have been twice dismissed by previous judicial bodies in Dallas County and before the State Bar's Ethics Committee," Merritt said. The UPLC finally found a receptive platform for the claim in the same jurisdiction where Sharen Wilson now serves as District Attorney."
Merritt has represented clients in recent high-profile cases in North Texas, including the shooting and killing of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs and former Mesquite police officer who shot and killed a man breaking into his own vehicle. Merritt also represented a Texas A&M-Commerce student accused of evading arrest by Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews.