FIRST ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEY
M. Theresa Johnson
st Assistant J
M. Theresa Johnson serves as the First Assistant District Attorney in the Berks County District Attorney’s Office. The First Assistant District Attorney is second in command in the District Attorney's Office and acts as the District Attorney in his absence.
Attorney Johnson also maintains a caseload of serious, complicated cases she prosecutes personally. In addition to supervising the legal staff, Attorney Johnson also works closely with Chief County Detective Michael Gombar and the vice detectives on drug investigations. She also oversees all county wide investigations involving consensual and non-consensual wiretap interceptions.
Attorney Johnson grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Following High School she attended Penn State University where she was a member of the women’s Varsity Swim Team and Captain her senior year. After graduation she returned to North Carolina and then worked for several years in Washington, D.C. before attending law school.
During law school, she joined the Berks County District Attorney’s Office in 1993 as an intern and then as an Assistant District Attorney upon graduation. As an Assistant District Attorney she practiced in all areas of the DA’s office, including appeals, child abuse, drug cases and homicides. In 1998 she was promoted to Chief of Trials. She left the District Attorney’s Office and entered private practice practicing in the area of civil law. In 2000 Attorney Johnson re-joined the District Attorney’s Office as the Supervising Attorney assigned to work with the Reading Area Violent Crimes Task Force and the Project Safe Neighborhoods Program.
In January 2001, the Reading Area Violent Crimes Task Force (RAVCTF) was established under the leadership of the FBI. The mission of the RAVCTF was to prosecute violent crime paying particular attention to the violence associated with gangs and drugs. The RAVCTF consisted of a combined enforcement body of the FBI, Reading Police Department, Berks County District Attorney’ Office, Sheriff’s Department and ATF. In June 2001 Attorney Johnson was cross-designated with the United States Attorney’s Office to pursue Federal Indictments. To date the RAVCTF was the most active and successful task force in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, indicting more than 100 individuals and numerous gangs from the city associated with drug dealing and violence.
In February 2003, Attorney General Ashcroft cited the Reading Area Violent Crimes Task Force as an example of the benefits of coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.
At the National Conference For Gun Crime Initiative held in Philadelphia in January 2003, Patrick L. Meehan, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, announced that the Berks County District Attorney’s Office had been awarded the nation’s Outstanding Local Prosecutor’s Office in implementing Project Safe Neighborhoods by the Department of Justice.
In January 2004, Attorney Johnson and members of the Weed and Seed Program were selected by the Department of Justice along with six other cities to attend a conference in Washington, DC to discuss the success of Task Force and the Weed and Seed program.
In May, 2006, Robert Reed, Chief of the Firearms Unit for the United States Attorney’s Office announced that there had been enormous successes in Reading, where United States Attorney Frank Barbieri and Special Assistant United States Attorney Theresa Johnson had charged and convicted more than 100 defendants, comprising six separate crack cocaine gangs.
In October 2006 Attorney Johnson joined the law practice of Linton, Distasio, Adams & Edwards where she practiced family law. In January 2008, following the election of District Attorney John Adams she re-joined the District Attorney’s office as the First Assistant District Attorney.