The state Supreme Court agreed to decide whether thousands of pages of transcripts from a criminal probe into Merrill Lynch & Co.'s role in the Orange County bankruptcy should be released. It may be a year before the high court completes its review of an appellate decision that cleared the way for 5,000 pages of grand jury transcripts to be released. An Orange County grand jury investigated Merrill for its sale of county debt in 1994. Merrill settled with the county for $30 million. The criminal probe was dropped.