A ‘grateful’ DelRicci installed as Montgomery County president judge
A standing-room-only crowd and his 96-year-old mother proudly applauded as Montgomery County Judge Thomas M. DelRicci was installed as the county’s newest president judge.
“I am grateful to accept this role as president judge with the full knowledge of the responsibility that accompanies it,” DelRicci told the packed courtroom of relatives, friends and judicial colleagues who turned out for the special event at the county courthouse on Friday.
Appearing humbled and honored, the 62-yearold jurist from the Ambler section of Whitpain Township took the oath of office as his wife, Carol, held the Bible, and as a sea of black robes, donned by the county’s 22-member judiciary and several senior and retired judges, provided the backdrop for the ceremony.
The oath was administered by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dougherty.
A graduate of St. Joseph’s University, DelRicci, who has been on the bench since 1998, smiled as he was greeted by thunderous, spirited applause at the conclusion of the moving ceremony. DelRicci, who obtained his law degree from Loyola University, is the 19th president judge of the county and succeeds Judge William J. Furber Jr., who retired in December.
“I’m humbled, that’s all I can tell you,” DelRicci’s mother, Jennie, an immigrant from Italy who arrived in America through Ellis Island in 1929, beamed with pride as she witnessed her son’s accomplishment. “He was always a good kid, never in any trouble, that I can tell you. It certainly proud day.”
During heartwarming remarks, DelRicci joked that there was a reason the ceremony was held on Friday instead of Tuesday or Thursday.
“It’s that Tuesday and Thursday are my mother’s bowling days. I’m not kidding,” said DelRicci, eliciting laughter from the crowd.
DelRicci, a father of two daughters, Sarah and Anna, thanked his wife for being by his side, adding, “There is no bigger saint that I am aware of and she is my rock.”
DelRicci’s sisters, Jeanne Marie and Francine also attended the event. DelRicci described his family as “the source of my strength.” is a
“It’s well-deserved,” Jeanne Marie Patterson, DelRicci’s sister, reacted to her brother’s installation. “We share a wonderful mother and a wonderful family and I’m really, really proud of him.”
With a measured and respectful tone, DelRicci said he is grateful for the talent and camaraderie of his fellow judges and he paid tribute to judges who served before him.
“I am truly standing on the shoulders of giants. The president judges who preceded me and under whom I served, or worked alongside of, many of whom are here, were great and scholarly thinkers, professional administrators and courageous leaders,” DelRicci said as he mentioned many of the judges by name.
“These are the giants on whose shoulders I stand. I can only hope that I have learned enough from them to leave this court as they have left it for me,” DelRicci continued, adding he was humbled by the confidence his fellow judges showed in him by unanimously electing him president of the bench for the next five years.
The ceremony was punctuated by remarks, some humorous and some poignant, by DelRicci’s colleagues, including Judge William R. Carpenter who said DelRicci “has a keen sense of justice.”
“His reputation as a jurist is impeccable. Tom has proven leadership abilities and he is a natural as an administrator. He certainly has a deep love for the law and a love for this court. Tom will bring new ideas and energy to this court. He will be an activist. Tom will be productive and he most certainly will see that we are too,” Carpenter said.
Judge Steven T. O’Neill read the commission of Gov. Tom Wolf in honor of DelRicci’s installation.
Judge Thomas P. Rogers credited DelRicci for implementing a “courtdriven civil system” to address a backlog of cases in the civil court division.
“Judge DelRicci has the intellect, the experience, the energy, the talent and the integrity to lead this bench over the next five years. He will set the example for us, and in so doing, remind us that this bench is second to none,” Rogers said.
DelRicci said justice must be administered “fairly, rationally, competently, fearlessly and timely” and that by doing so the bench will “earn the public’s trust and confidence.”
“I believe that is the responsibility of the president judge to make certain that happens. To implement effective case processing techniques, to seek input from other judges and from lawyers to make certain that we are using the best practices possible and to advocate for the resources necessary to do our job well. These will be the principles that guide me over the next five years,” DelRicci said.
While a county judge, DelRicci has presided over criminal, civil and family courts and has handled land-use matters. DelRicci previously served as president of the Pennsylvania Conference of State Trial Judges, an organization that promotes professional development among judges, and was instrumental in the founding of Judges Concerned for Judges, a peer assistance program for judges who are at risk as a result of substance abuse and mental illness.
“I’m humbled, that’s all I can tell you. He was always a good kid, never in any trouble, that I can tell you. It certainly is a proud day.”
Montgomery County Judge Thomas M. DelRicci is congratulated by his wife, Carol, and his mother, Jennie, after his installment as president judge during a courthouse ceremony on Friday.