Melinda Morgan Austin has been a member of the law firm of Holt, Mussleman, Morgan & Alvis (formerly Holt, Mussleman, Kelley & Morgan) since 1997. She devotes the majority of her practice to criminal defense cases and domestic relations cases. She is a state certified guardian ad litem and accepts regular appointments from the Lauderdale County Family Court. Melinda served as a CJA panel attorney for the United States District Court, Northern District of Alabama, from 1999-2007, representing defendants charged with Federal offenses in the Northern District Courts.
She graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Alabama in 1993, where she majored in Political Science, Sociology, and Criminal Justice. She received her Juris Doctorate in 1996 from the University of Alabama School of Law. During law school, she clerked for the law firm of Holt, Mussleman & Holt assisting the firm's senior partner in complex criminal trials, including drug trafficking, murder, and capital murder cases. Melinda also regularly assisted in appellate brief drafting in domestic relations cases during her two years as law clerk.
Melinda was admitted to practice in the State of Alabama in 1996 and in the U.S. District Court for the Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama. She served as law clerk to Judge N. Michael Suttle, former presiding Circuit Court Judge for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
Melinda is a member of the Lauderdale County Bar Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association.
She served as President of the Lauderdale County Bar Association in 2003-2004. She served on the Board of Directors for the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyers Association from 1998 until 2008 and served as President of ACDLA in 2006. In 2008, Melinda served as the ACDLA appointee to the Commission on Women and Girls in the Criminal Justice System. She also served as a member of the Advisory Council for the Lauderdale County S.P.A.N. (Special Programming for Achievement Network) Youth Program. Melinda served on the Board of Directors for One Place of the Shoals, Center for Domestic Violence and Abuse from 2013 until 2017. She has also served as a frequent CLE lecturer for ACDLA and local North Alabama organizations.
Melinda was the lead counsel in State v. Wells, a Colbert County parricide case where the seventeen year old Defendant was charged with capital murder in the death of his parents. The case was tried to a Jefferson County jury in 2007, and the Defendant was found not guilty as to the death of his father and guilty to the lesser offense of manslaughter as to the death of his mother.
Melinda and her husband, Jeff, are members of Trinity Episcopal Church, in Florence, where they are active in their Parrish and in the Cursillo movement.
Shauanna Black serves as Melinda's assistant, providing another caring point of contact for all clients.