Friday, February 17, 2017

An Unusual Valentine's Day in Montgomery County Court



It was an unusual state of affairs that couldn’t be overlooked on the third floor of the Montgomery County Courthouse on Valentine’s Day.


In one courtroom, Courtroom A, Judges Risa Vetri Ferman, Joseph P. Walsh and Garrett D. Page presided over the beautiful wedding ceremonies of about 20 couples choosing the traditional day of love to honor their unions.
Ian Drake & Christina Manning of Conshohocken are wed by Judge Garrett D. Page/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.

Here's the story: Couples say "I do."


Newlyweds Aaron Eugene and Lauren Simmons of Schwenksville with Judge Risa Vetri Ferman/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.


But just 50 feet away, in Courtroom D, President Judge Thomas M. DelRicci presided over a civil hearing for Rafael Robb, the former University of Pennsylvania professor who brutally ended the union with his wife, Ellen Gregory Robb, in their Upper Merion home in 2006.


I went from observing pledges of everlasting love - husbands and wives tying the knot - in one courtroom, to observing the aftermath of a marriage that went sour and turned deadly - a recently released from prison husband forced to also pay financially for brutally killing his wife - in the other courtroom.
Rafael Robb/Photo by Carl Hessler Jr.




It was a juxtaposition of events that I had not expected that day.





I found myself saying, “You can’t make this stuff up.”
I’ll choose to remember the goodness of the day, all of those joyful couples who left the courthouse hand-in-hand, smiling about the journey to come, rather than about the 66-year-old Robb, who left the courthouse forever branded a wife killer and all alone.


Congratulations to the county’s judges for coming up with the idea for the special Valentine’s Day wedding program and making it a success. Perhaps it can become a tradition in county court.

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