Taryn A. Merkl entered on duty as a United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York on May 3, 2021. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1996 from the University of Michigan, with honors, and her Juris Doctor from Columbia Law School in 2000, where she was the Editor-in-Chief of the Columbia Human Rights Law Review and A Jailhouse Lawyer’s Manual, 5th Edition.
Following law school, she served as a law clerk to Judge Jan E. DuBois of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (2000–2001) and Chief Judge John M. Walker, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (2001–2002). In October 2002, Judge Merkl became an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, where she served until April 2019. In that role, she had many supervisory positions, including Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division and Chief of the Civil Rights and Organized Crime and Gangs Sections. As Chief of Civil Rights from 2013 to 2019, she supervised all criminal civil rights and human trafficking cases in the district and was the founding Co-Chair of the Brooklyn Human Trafficking Task Force.
From April 2019 until her appointment as a Magistrate Judge, she served as Senior Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, where she conducted criminal justice research and authored policy recommendations. She also taught as a lecturer at Columbia Law School on federal criminal litigation from 2008 to 2019, and as an adjunct professor of white collar crime at Cardozo School of Law from 2006 to 2008. She has received numerous awards and honors from, among others, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Women in Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, and has been recognized as one of New York Law Journal’s Top Women in Law. She frequently guest lectures on human trafficking, criminal law topics, and habeas corpus.
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