Judge Merchan was born in Bogota, Colombia and emigrated to New York City when he was six years old. He is a product of the NYC public school system and holds a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration from Baruch College of the City University of New York. He earned his Juris Doctor from Hofstra University School of Law in 1994.
Judge Merchan began his legal career in 1994 when he joined the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He served in the Trial Division until 1998 and the Investigations Division until his appointment to the New York State Attorney General’s Office in 1999. There, he held several positions, eventually rising to Assistant Attorney General in-Charge of the Nassau County Region. As an Assistant Attorney General, Judge Merchan investigated, prosecuted and tried civil and criminal violations of law and he defended New York State, its agents and agencies against law suits in State and federal courts.
Judge Merchan was appointed to the Family Court bench in August, 2006 and was assigned to the Bronx where he presided over juvenile delinquencies and designated felonies. He was confirmed by the New York State Senate to the New York State Court of Claims in April, 2009, becoming the first judge of Colombian descent appointed to that Court. He sits as an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court – Criminal Term in Manhattan where he presides over a felony trial part. Additionally, he has presided over the Manhattan Mental Health Court since its inception in 2011 and the Manhattan Veteran’s Treatment Court since January of 2019.