Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I Heard It On The Boardwalk

     I enjoy roaming the hallways, stairwells and courtrooms at the Montgomery County Courthouse as I search for news each day, afterall, you never know what you might overhear or who you might stumble upon. Not being one to enjoy sitting behind a desk, I roam a lot, from floor to floor and courtroom to courtroom, leaving many to joke that I "troll" for news and must buy a new pair of shoes each week.
    My favorite place in the courthouse is the so-called "Boardwalk," that long stretch of hallway bedecked by local art on the plaza level, where it's always bustling with lawyers, courthouse workers and citizens serving jury duty or facing hearings in court. Chairs and benches line the walls on either side of the hallway, hence "the boardwalk" designation, and many sit there conversing or passing time on their breaks. It's there I usually hear the most humorous comments or witness some uncanny situations.
     Take the other day for example, I encountered District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman on "the boardwalk" as she arrived for work, bundled up against February's bitter cold in her black overcoat, and we exchanged pleasantries and I inquired about setting up an interview for a story I was considering writing.
"The Boardwalk"
    Busy defense lawyers, prosecutors, courthouse workers and citizens buzzed by as Ferman, who is running for a county judgeship this year, and I chatted.
    Then, out of the blue, one defense lawyer greeted Ferman and uttered, "You look good in black," referring to the overcoat she was wearing. Then he chortled, "You'd look better in a robe," obviously referring to the black one Ferman hopes to wear next year as a judge.
     I chuckled and thought to myself, 'Only on the boardwalk.'
   
Montco DA Risa Vetri Ferman/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.
     Suddenly, I noticed a woman slowly pass us several times and stare as if she wanted to interject into our impromptu conversation. The woman abruptly turned around and approached us.
     "I just wanted to stop and say, 'Hello.' I know you from television," the woman gleefully told Ferman, obviously recognizing the DA from the many news conferences she's held during her tenure.
     "I'm a fan. You look better in person than on TV," the woman gushed as Ferman politely and graciously accepted the warm gesture from a private citizen and member of the public she serves.
     Then the woman unexpectedly revealed that she was headed to court for a hearing, adding, "I was bad." The conversation came to a sudden halt. The woman smiled and then headed to the courtroom.
     Ferman was speechless. I was speechless. I didn't expect that! Again, I thought, "Only on the boardwalk."
    As the woman disappeared around the corner and Ferman and I parted ways, I couldn't help but wonder, "Did Ferman get a conviction and a vote that day?"
   

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