Risa Vetri Ferman

Risa Vetri Ferman (born April 5, 1965) is judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County, and was formerly District Attorney of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.[1] Before winning election as the county's prosecutor, Ferman worked for 15 years in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.[2] In November 2007, she became the first woman elected District Attorney in Montgomery County.[2] In 2011, Ferman won re-election and began her second term as District Attorney in January 2012. She is the daughter of Barbara and Sal Vetri, and sister of restaurateur Marc Vetri and television director and producer Adam Vetri.[3]

Risa Vetri Ferman
Risa Vetri Ferman
Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Montgomery County
Assumed office
January 5, 2016 (2016-01-05)
Personal details
Risa Vetri

April 5, 1965
Philadelphia, United States
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Michael Ferman
ParentsBarbara and Sal Vetri
ResidenceAbington Township
Alma materUniversity of Pennsylvania
Widener University School of Law
Websitehttp://risaferman.com/ http://www.da.montcopa.org


Youth and educationEdit

Risa Vetri Ferman was born in Philadelphia and raised in Abington Township in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.[4] She is the daughter of Barbara and Sal Vetri. In her early life, Ferman worked for her father's jewelry store, Crown Jewels and Dazzles, which operated with 35 storefronts and mall kiosks across Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey for 30 years.[5]

She graduated from Abington Senior High School[4] in 1983 and attended the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, graduating in 1987.[6] After enrolling in the evening program at Widener University School of Law in 1990, she interned for the United States Attorney's Office in 1991. Ferman graduated from Widener University School of Law in 1992 with a Juris Doctorate[2] and was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1992. She was admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 2006, and the United States Supreme Court in 2000. In 1993, Ferman began working as a prosecutor for the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.[2]

Early legal careerEdit

Ferman began work as a prosecutor in 1993 and rose to Captain of Sex Crime and the Child Abuse. She has specialized in the prosecution of homicide, child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence cases.[2] In 2002, Ferman was selected to serve as First Assistant District Attorney, second in command to then District Attorney Bruce Castor Jr.[2] In this position, Ferman supervised the county detective bureau and oversaw all homicide cases.[2] In November 2007, Ferman ran for District Attorney of Montgomery County.

2007 Montgomery County District Attorney electionEdit

In 2007, Ferman ran as a Republican candidate for the District Attorneys seat against Democrat Peter C. Amuso[7] Ferman won the election and received the highest vote count of any candidate on the ballot in 2007.[7] She was elected in November 2007 as the first female District Attorney of Montgomery County and assumed office January 2008.[4]

Service as District AttorneyEdit

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman talks with students at a lunch table at Eisenhower Science and Technology Leadership Academy

In 2008, Ferman established an Elder Abuse Unit and Taskforce to support seniors targeted by criminals.[8][9][10] Ferman supervises the Elder Abuse Task Force, a multifaceted force of law enforcement agencies as well as the county's Aging and Adult Services.[10][11] Ferman established the Elder Justice Roundtable in 2013 after further development with the Elder Abuse Unit and Taskforce.[9][12][13]

In 2009, Ferman co-founded the Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Mission Kids is a 501(c)(3) corporation, founded through a collaborative effort with the Police Chiefs of Association of Montgomery County, and the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth.[14] Ferman is a member of the Mission Kids Executive Board (as Past President)[15]

Ferman is co-founder of the Montgomery County Child Advocacy Program (MCAP)[16] as a board member.[17] MCAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides free legal representation to children who are victims of abuse in Montgomery County.[16][18] Ferman introduced the School Safety Committee as a primary source for County schools regarding safety.[19] The committee consists of a variety of individual units such as school superintendents, public safety officials and law enforcement personnel.[19][20] Ferman is an avid supporter of the Montgomery County Youth Aid Panel Program (YAP), a restorative justice initiative for juveniles in the criminal justice system.[21] Ferman created the Teen Driving Safety Program[22] which includes a Teen Driving Safety Documentary, through partnership with the WPVI Channel 6 ABC and a corresponding Teen Driving Safety Curriculum[21][23][24][25]

In 2012, Ferman convened Montgomery County's first Cyber Bullying and Bullying Task Force.[26] Come 2013, Ferman, along with Montgomery County Commission Chair Josh Shapiro, former Montgomery County Sheriff Eileen Behr, Montgomery County Schools and Intermediate Unit, and the Police Chiefs Association of Montgomery County, announced the creation and release of the first Cyber Bullying/Bullying Taskforce Manual in the country[26][27]

Ferman and Montgomery County Chief Public Defender Keir Bradford-Grey coordinated their efforts to protect youths in Montgomery County through a partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Southeastern, Pennsylvania to create the "Back on Track program[28] In 2014, Ferman and Montgomery County Sheriff Russell Bono brought the Teen Suicide Prevention Program to Montgomery County in collaboration with John Halligan, Founder of Ryan’s Story.[29]

Ferman established the Detectives Violent Crime Unit to assist in investigations regarding brutal crime.[30] She encourages the use of the District Attorney’s Office DUI and Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program for first time, non-violent offenders to highlight rehabilitative services.[13] In addition, Ferman supports diversionary programs within Montgomery County such as Veteran’s Treatment Court, Drug Treatment Court and Behavioral Health Court.

In April 2013, Ferman established the Montgomery County Prescription Drug Disposal Program which places safe receptacles for the public to safely dispose of their old or unwanted prescription drugs.[31] Ferman spread awareness about Teen Prescription Drug Abuse[32] through her involvement with the McIntyre Family and the death of their son Ronald "Ronnie" Powell III as a result of prescription drug overdose.[32][33] The District Attorney's Office has maintained a 98% conviction rate.[4][13]

District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Courthouse Comfort Dog K9 Turks

In October 2014, Ferman brought the Courthouse Comfort Dog Program to the Montgomery County Courthouse with the addition of "K9 Turks" to serve victims and witnesses through distressing situations in the courthouse.[34]

In July 2015, Ferman was elected as the first female President of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association (PDAA).[35] She is chair of the PDAA Best Practice Committee[36] and a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys (APA).[15] She is a member of the Joint State Government Commissions Advisory Committee on Wrongful Convictions.[37]

Ferman was nominated to Chair of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in 2010,[38] and began as a member in 2006.[39] She is a member of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Institute and helped to bring Wheels of Justice bicycling team, a non-profit charitable organization that supports Law Enforcement related charities to Southeast Pennsylvania.[40][41] In addition, Ferman brought the Fallen Hero Plaque Program to Montgomery County through collaboration with local law enforcement and founder of the program, James Binns Esquire.[42]


In 2011 Ferman was re-elected for a second term as Montgomery County District Attorney. As a result of her prolific fundraising (raising around $237,000) rumors arose that she was running for Pennsylvania Attorney General, however, she remained at her District Attorney post.[43] Philadelphia Magazine profiled Ferman in 2011 as a result of her success as District Attorney with regard to her position on politics and types of crime rising throughout Montgomery County.[44]

As of January 2015, Ferman decided to leave her position as District Attorney and run for a seat on the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas as Judge in Montgomery County.[45]

In August 2015, DA Ferman charged Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane for her alleged involvement in the leaking of confidential investigative information to a newspaper and for her subsequent attempts to cover up these actions.[46][47] Following the leak, a grand jury investigated and recommended the arrest and filing of criminal charges against Kane for felony perjury and multiple misdemeanors nine months prior to her being charged.[48] However, Ferman launched her own independent criminal investigation into the allegations against Kane. Ultimately DA Ferman concluded that it was appropriate to file criminal charges against the Attorney General.[49] Kane's criminal trial for felony charges of perjury and obstruction began on August 8, 2016.[50][51] On August 15, she was convicted on all nine counts.[52]

Author and speakerEdit

Guest speakerEdit

Ferman appeared on Dateline NBC in April, 2009.[53][54] In November 2011, Ferman was featured as an honored guest speaker at the Widener Symposium on Child Abuse, "Lessons from Tragedy: Legal, Professional, and Ethical Issues Raised by Bradley and Beyond".[55] In 2012, Ferman was featured at the Penn State Abington campus of Penn State University as the Spring Commencement Speaker[56]

Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman turns pages on a copy of her book "The Mouse Who Went Surfing Alone" as it is read to an assembly of students at Walton Farm Elementary School.


Ferman is a featured author for the Widener Law Review of Widener University of Law, her review is titled, "Lessons from Tragedy: Bridging the Gap between Public Expectations and Legal Standards through an Evaluation of Criminal Investigations and Subsequent Charging Decisions".[57] Ferman is also a blogger for The Huffington Post[58]

Ferman authored and published the children's book "The Mouse Who Went Surfing Alone".[59] All profits from sales of the book go to Mission Kids.[59] The book is intended for young children and teachers as a teaching tool about internet safety.[59] Thanks to a donation from the Verizon Foundation to Mission Kids, each child usually receives a copy to take home and discuss with his/her parents.[59]

Personal lifeEdit

Ferman is married to husband, Michael, and has three children.[3] Her mother, Barbara Vetri, was a lawyer specializing in real estate and family law.[3] In 1994, her father Sal Vetri sold his jewelry chain, Crown Jewel.[3] Her brother, Marc Vetri, is a chef in Philadelphia.[60][61] The youngest of the Vetri family is Adam Vetri, is a director and producer.[62][63][64]


  1. ^ http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2015/11/04/colonial_news/news/doc5639aa4a0e483567680040.txt
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Mentors: Honorable Risa Vetri Ferman. Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program, Inc. Retrieved: January 20th, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d Parks, J. (April 27, 2013). "Vetri, Ferman talk of foundations, family". Philadelphia Magazine.
  4. ^ a b c d District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.
  5. ^ Nichols, R. (2010, February 14). "This Vetri cooks, too". Philadelphia Inquirer.
  6. ^ Hessler, C., Jr. (2015, January 12, 2015). "Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Ferman will not seek a third term, announces intent to run for county judge seat". Montgomery Media.
  7. ^ a b Lester, P. (November 7, 2007). "First assistant leads in Montco district attorney race". The Morning Call.
  8. ^ Office Structure. (n.d.). Montgomery County's District Attorney's Office website.
  9. ^ a b Elder Access to Justice Roundtable. (n.d.).
  10. ^ a b Phucas, K. (July 6, 2009). "D.A. Unit Targets Elder Abuse". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  11. ^ Montgomery County - Elder Abuse Hotline. Senior Directory (n.d.).
  12. ^ Hessler, C., Jr. (March 2, 2008). "Montco starts elder abuse prevention unit". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  13. ^ a b c Mongtomery County District Attorneys Office. (August 13, 2014). 2013 Annual Report.
  14. ^ About Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center. (n.d.).
  15. ^ a b Board of Directors. (n.d.). Association of Prosecuting Attorneys website.
  16. ^ a b Montgomery County Child Advocacy Program. (n.d.). Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office website.
  17. ^ Board Members. (n.d.). Montgomery Child Advocacy Project website.
  18. ^ About Montgomery County Child Advocacy Program. (n.d.). Montgomery County Child Advocacy Program website.
  19. ^ a b School Safety Committee. (n.d.). Montgomery County District Attorney's Office website.
  20. ^ Hessler, C., Jr. (May 17, 2009). "D.A. Cites Accomplishments". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  21. ^ a b Youth Aid Panel Program. (n.d.). Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office website. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  22. ^ Keeping Kids Safe. Montgomery County District Attorney's Office. (n.d.).
  23. ^ Hessler, C., Jr. (May 17, 2009). "Montco D.A. Ferman reflects on first year". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  24. ^ Fernandez, J. (May 10, 2012). "LM sophomores and Montco officials discuss drunk driving death". Philadelphia Inquirer.
  25. ^ Hessler, C., Jr. (2010, March 18). "Montco D.A. urges teens to make good choices". Montgomery County's District Attorney's Office. (n.d.).
  26. ^ a b Anti-Violence & Bullying Prevention. Montgomery County District Attorney's Office. (n.d.).
  27. ^ District Attorney Ferman, Along With County Commission Chair Josh Shapiro, Sheriff Eileen Behr. Press release.
  28. ^ Montgomery County Public Defender, District Attorney Announce New Program for Delinquent Youth in Partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters Southeastern PA. Press release. (June 24, 2014).
  29. ^ District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman and Sheriff Russell Bono Partner with Local Schools to Tackle Youth Bullying, Cyber Bullying, and Teen Suicide Prevention. Montgomery County District Attorney's Office. (September 10, 2014). Press release.
  30. ^ Brandt, E. (December 4, 2014). "Montco Violent Crime Unit to help with Pottstown shooting investigation". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  31. ^ DA Prescription Drug Disposal Program. Montgomery County District Attorney's Office. (n.d.).
  32. ^ a b Phucas, K. (March 27, 2010). "D.A.: To fight abuse, police the medicine cabinet". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  33. ^ Phucas, K. (April 18, 2010). "Mother describes losing son to prescription drug abuse". Mainline Media News.
  34. ^ Hunter, W. (October 3, 2014). "Montgomery County’s New Courthouse Dog To Help Comfort, Support Victims And Witnesses". CBS Philly Newsgroup post.
  35. ^ [1]. (July 14, 2015). Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association.
  36. ^ PDAA Launches Best Practices Committee. (October 20, 2014). Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association.
  37. ^ Report of the Advisory Committee on Wrongful Convictions, September 2011.
  38. ^ Hessler, C., Jr. (February 22, 2010). "Montco D.A. Ferman to chair Pa. rules committee". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  39. ^ Pennsylvania Supreme Court Announces Appointment. Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. (June 5, 2006). Press release.
  40. ^ Wheels of Justice. (n.d.). Wheels of Justice Montgomery County Pennsylvania website.
  41. ^ DeHuff, J. (July 30, 2011). "Wheels of Justice takes a turn for charity". The Mercury News. (Pottsdown Mercury).
  42. ^ District Attorney's Fallen Hero Plaque Program. (n.d.). Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.
  43. ^ Roebuck, J. (May 16, 2011). "Montco D.A. Ferman's funds raise talk of run for Pa. attorney general". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  44. ^ Vetri Ferman, R., Esq. (2011, December 29). Q&A: Risa Vetri Ferman (Interview by R.Rhys: Transcript). Philadelphia Magazine.
  45. ^ Parks, J. (January 8, 2015). "Montco D.A. Ferman to run for County Court judge". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  46. ^ McCoy, C. R., Couloumbis, A., & Roebuck, J. (2015, August 8). Montco D.A. charges Attorney General Kane. Retrieved from Philadelphia Inquirer website: http://articles.philly.com/2015-08-08/news/65322521_1_attorney-general-kane-ernie-preate-jr-top-law-enforcement-officer
  47. ^ Parks, J. (2015, June 18). Kane case still big question for Ferman. Retrieved from Philadelphia Inquirer website: http://articles.philly.com/2015-06-18/news/63528622_1_kane-case-top-prosecutor-attorney-general-kathleen-g
  48. ^ Bumstead, B. (2015, August 24). Judge holds Pa. AG Kane for trial on 1 felony, 7 misdemeanors. Retrieved from Trib Total Media website: http://triblive.com/state/pennsylvania/8891532-74/attorney-kane-general#axzz3jlTzLiy7
  49. ^ Esack, S., & Kraus, S. (2015, August 24). Stage set for Kathleen Kane trial.Retrieved from The Morning Call website: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-p-pa-kathleen-kane-accuser-in-court-peifer-2-20150824-story.html
  50. ^ Associated Press (August 7, 2016). "Pa. Attorney General Kathleen Kane Begins Trial Monday: 'This Isn't the End of the Game'". theblaze.com. TheBlaze. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  51. ^ Maryclaire Dale, Associated Press (August 7, 2016). "Term about over, Pennsylvania's top prosecutor goes on trial". abc27.com. WHTM-TV. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
  52. ^ "AG Kathleen Kane found guilty in perjury case". 6abc.com. 2016-08-15. Archived from the original on 2016-08-18. Retrieved 2016-08-16.
  53. ^ Vetri Ferman, R., (April 15, 2009). DA Risa Vetri Ferman Appears on Dateline NBC: Part 1. Video file.
  54. ^ Vetri Ferman, R., (April 15, 2009). DA Risa Vetri Ferman Appears on Dateline NBC: Part 2. Video file.
  55. ^ Web editor (November 8, 2011). "Widener Law Review Symposium Looks at Legal, Ethical, and Medical Issues Raised by Earl Bradley Tragedy". Widener University School of Law. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012.
  56. ^ "Penn State announces spring 2014 commencement events and speakers". (April 7, 2014). Pennsylvania State University.
  57. ^ Vetri Ferman, R., Esq. (2013). Lessons From Tragedy: Bridging the Gap Between Public Expectations and Legal Standards Through an Evaluation of Criminal Investigations and Subsequent Charging Decisions. (Review). Widener University School of Law; Widener Law Review, 19(193). Retrieved from Lexis Nexis Academic database.
  58. ^ Entries by Risa Ferman (Newsgroup posts). The Huffington Post.
  59. ^ a b c d Internet Safety: Pre-K & 1st Grade. (n.d.). Montgomery County District Attorney's Office.
  60. ^ Mowry, A. (April 23, 2014). "Interview with Outstanding Chef Award Nominee Marc Vetri". James Beard Foundation.
  61. ^ Vetri Foundation website.
  62. ^ MoviePictures.org. (n.d.). Vetri, Adam Biography. MoviePictures.org
  63. ^ <http://www.dga.org/Awards/Annual.aspx>.
  64. ^ TV News Desk. (January 16, 2015). "CMT's STEVE AUSTIN'S BROKEN SKULL CHALLENGE Picks Up DGA Nomination". Broadway World. Wisdom Digital Media.

External linksEdit