Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Retiring Judges Receive Well-Deserved Recognition

There were many poignant moments during three ceremonies this month as the three new judges in Montgomery County took their oaths of office. Heartwarming speeches were provided by the family and friends of Judges Risa Vetri Ferman, Daniel Clifford and Todd D. Eisenberg as the new judges officially donned their black robes for the first time.
Montgomery County Courthouse

But the most poignant moment, I believe, came when President Judge William J. Furber Jr. took the time to recognize the accomplishments of three judges who retired at the end of 2015, Judge Stanley R. Ott, Judge Bernard A. Moore and Judge Joseph A. Smyth Jr.

“Ladies and gentleman,” Furber addressed the crowd, “the investiture of new judges is always an exhilarating time for the court because it engenders an invigorating spirit and energizes the bench by virtue of an influx of fresh ideas from our new colleagues, which in turn tends to promote experimentation with new methods.”

“This dynamic creates opportunities to improve how justice is administered in a timely and transparent fashion. This natural progression is vital to the preservation of our system,” Furber continued.

“Although we welcome innovation and new blood I would like to take a moment this morning to acknowledge three of our colleagues whose most recent retirements graciously created the three vacancies which our newest members have filled,” Furber added.

“The legacies of these three men have created over almost three decades of devotion to the law and to the Bar and to the court and to the public. Their legacies are immeasurable. I speak, of course, of Judges Ott, Smyth and Moore,” said Furber, inviting the three respected jurists to rise from their seats at the bench.

The crowd of 250 or so spectators erupted into thunderous applause and a standing ovation, delivering respect and gratitude for the three jurists who smiled humbly. The recognition was well-deserved.

Smyth, who served as county district attorney from 1979 to 1984, was appointed to the bench in May 1984 by then Gov. Dick Thornburgh and he was elected to a full 10-year term in 1985. Smyth, a graduate of Temple University School of Law, was retained in 1995 and 2005, and he previously served as president judge.

Moore, a former assistant district attorney from 1970 to 1975, was elected to the bench for a 10-year term in 1989. A graduate of Temple University School of Law, Moore won retention elections in 1999 and 2009.

Ott, a graduate of Cornell University Law School, was elected to the bench in November 1987. He was retained in 1997 and 2007 and served as the administrative judge of the Orphans’ Court division.

Thank you, judges, for your service.


  1. Isn't Judge Stanley Ott the Judge whose decision destroyed the Barnes Foundation?