The Merrill City Council last Tuesday heard a first reading of an ordinance to create a joint municipal court with the city of Tomahawk. The joint court would go into effect May 1, 2014.
Merrill has been operating a municipal court for the past 15 years, while Tomahawk does not have a municipal court in place. Ordinance violations from the city of Tomahawk are heard in Lincoln County Circuit Court. For the past two years, the Merrill City Attorney’s office has been handling the prosecution of Tomahawk municipal cases in Lincoln County Circuit Court.
The office of Merrill municipal judge, currently held by Merle Sheridan, will be up for election in April 2014. At that time, an election would be held for the office of joint municipal judge, who would serve a four-year term. Candidates who reside in either the city of Merrill or the city of Tomahawk would be eligible for the post.
A municipal court hears cases that are violations of city ordinances or building codes. The municipal court can take cases to trial. The first court of appeal for municipal court cases is the county circuit court.
The municipal court ordinance still has to pass second and third readings by the Merrill City Council and also has to be adopted by the Tomahawk City Council.