About Risa Ferman
DISTRICT ATTORNEY RISA VETRI FERMAN
An Independent Leader Who Gets Results
Risa Vetri Ferman is the elected District Attorney of Montgomery County, first earning her seat in November 2007 after working for 15 years in the trenches as a courtroom prosecutor. Re-elected D.A. in 2011, Ferman received the highest vote count of any candidate on the ballot that year.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in Abington Township, Risa is a lifelong resident of our community. The daughter of Sal and Barbara Vetri, she learned about the value of an honest day’s work from her father, with whom she worked side-by-side in a family owned chain of retail jewelry stores. She developed her independence and persistence from her mother, a 50-year veteran of the Pennsylvania legal community. After graduating from Abington High School, Risa attended the University of Pennsylvania. After working for several years, she opted to return to school and began her studies in the evening program at Widener University School of Law where she earned a law degree in less than three years.
Prior to being elected as the first female DA in Montgomery County history, DA Ferman earned a reputation as a tough, skillful prosecutor, taking on some of the most challenging cases in Montgomery County. She devoted her entire professional career to fighting for victims of crime and protecting the safety and security of the community. Beginning work as a prosecutor in 1993, Ferman quickly rose through the ranks to become Captain of the Sex Crimes Team. She has specialized in the prosecution of homicide, child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence cases.
Ferman served as a Deputy District Attorney where she managed the two major divisions of the DA’s Office responsible for the training of all new Assistant District Attorneys as well as the supervision of seven trial units including narcotics, major crimes, economic crimes, sex crimes/child abuse, domestic violence, grand jury and quality of life crimes. In 2002, Ferman was selected to serve as First Assistant District Attorney, the second in command to the entire District Attorney’s Office and County Detective Bureau. Ferman oversaw all homicide investigations while maintaining a personal caseload of serious crimes she would prosecute herself.
Risa Vetri Ferman has devoted her office to protecting our community’s most vulnerable citizens. She established the Elder Abuse Unit to target criminals who prey upon senior citizens. She was the driving force behind the creation of Mission Kids Child Advocacy Center, Montgomery County’s first child advocacy program aimed at easing the criminal justice process for victims of child abuse. She is also the co-founder of Montgomery County Child Advocacy Project (MCAP), which provides pro-bono legal services to abused children.
DA Ferman spearheaded numerous crime prevention and community education programs throughout Montgomery County. She created new initiatives targeting gangs, gun violence, and government corruption. She launched an unprecedented partnership with our schools to ensure the safety and security of our children. Truancy abatement, violence prevention, teen driving safety and prescription drug awareness programs are just a few of the initiatives DA Ferman introduced to our school communities.
DA Ferman has worked closely with the Courts and the Criminal Justice Advisory Board to develop diversionary programs for first-time, non-violent offenders. She supported Drug Court, Behavioral Health Court, and Veterans’ Court. She has tasked her team with closely monitoring the results of other diversionary programs in an effort to make the most efficient and effective use of our precious tax dollars on the treatment and rehabilitation of non-violent offenders.
Most importantly, DA Ferman gets results. Under her leadership, the District Attorney’s office has achieved a 98% conviction rate – one of the strongest records in Pennsylvania.
Throughout the Commonwealth, DA Risa Vetri Ferman is a recognized law enforcement leader. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania selected her as Chair of the Criminal Procedural Rules Committee. She was selected by her peers to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association and by legislative leaders to serve on the Joint State Government Commission on Wrongful Convictions. DA Ferman was named by The Legal Intelligencer as a “Woman of Distinction 2010” and has been honored by numerous organizations including the Citizen’s Crime Commission of the Delaware Valley, Victim’s Services Center of Montgomery County and the National Children’s Advocacy Center. Fraternal Order of Police Lodges and the Police Chiefs of Montgomery County have recognized DA Ferman as an honorary member of their associations.