Bruce Castor

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Bruce L. Castor, Jr.
Member of the Montgomery County
Board of Commissioners
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 7, 2008
Serving with Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards
Preceded by Tom Ellis
District Attorney of Montgomery County
In office
January 3, 2000 – January 7, 2008
Preceded by Michael Marino
Succeeded by Risa Vetri Ferman
Personal details
Born (1961-10-24) October 24, 1961 (age 53)
Abington, PA.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elizabeth
Children Two
Residence Lederach, Lower Salford Township
Alma mater Lafayette College
Washington and Lee University
Occupation Lawyer
Profession Attorney, Politician
Religion Presbyterian
Website BruceCastor.com

Bruce L. Castor, Jr. (born October 24, 1961) is an American lawyer and Republican politician from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Castor was District Attorney of Montgomery County from 2000 to 2008, when he took a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, the elected position he currently holds. In addition to his governmental role, Castor is a partner in the Ardmore, PA based law firm of Rogers Castor. He was exploring a bid for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2014 according to multiple reports, and a May 6, 2013 report in The Legal Intelligencer additionally mentioned Castor as a possible appointee to a vacant position on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Castor subsequently issued a public statement that he would not run for governor in 2014, but would accept the supreme court appointment if it was offered.[1]Eventually, the incumbent governor of Pennsylvania against whom Castor contemplated a primary challenge, ended up being the only GOP governor or GOP US Senate office in the United States in 2014 to change parties in the General Election. This fact created widespread speculation that if the State Republicans leaders, as had Castor, recognized the un-electibility of the incumbent, the GOP would have had a chance to hold the office with Castor or another Republican candidate.

Tenure as Montgomery County District Attorney[edit]

Castor became District Attorney in January 2000.[2]

Notable cases[edit]

  • Bill Cosby - Castor declined to prosecute Cosby for sexual assault in 2005 after he found "insufficient, credible and admissible evidence exists upon which any charge against Mr. Cosby could be sustained beyond a reasonable doubt." [3] In November, 2014, Castor's decision held up under worldwide media scrutiny as other women came forward to accuse Cosby. However, each accuser's assault claims occurred in time prior to the case Castor investigated. To date, no Cosby accuser has claimed the entertainer assaulted her after Castor's investigation in 2005 leading some to conclude, including the Bloomberg Report, that Cosby's brush with the law at Castor's hands ended his serial sexual assaults.
  • Dillon Cossey - Planned a Columbine-style attack on a local high school. Cossey was convicted in juvenile court.[4]
  • John Eichinger - The most prolific serial killer documented in Montgomery County history. Eichinger murdered three young women and a small child. Two of the women had rejected his sexual advances and the other woman and child were witnesses. Eichinger received three death sentences and one sentence of life in prison. The case formed the basis for the production of a demo video for a proposed television show based on Castor's career called "Probable Cause," written and produced in 2007 by then Times Herald reporter Keith Phucas in Norristown, Pennsylvania.
  • Caleb Fairley - sexually assaulted and murdered a mother and her child in his parents' shop, serving a double life sentence.[5]
  • Bruce Godschalk - A man convicted of rape in 1987 (before Castor was elected) was freed in 2002 after DNA tests cast doubt on his guilt. Castor, who was under no legal obligation, originally would not offer DNA testing. Godschalk filed a lawsuit against the county which was settled for approximately $1 million though Castor was dismissed as a defendant. The United States Supreme Court in June, 2009 in another case, ruled that Castor's interpretation of the law relating to DNA testing was correct after all.[6][7][8][9]
  • Craig Rabinowitz - murdered his wife to elope with a stripper. This case is the subject of multiple television programs and a book by Ken Englade called Everybody's Best Friend. He is serving a life sentence.[10][11]
  • Rafael Robb - University of Pennsylvania professor of Game Theory accused of murdering his wife in a rage. Pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. The case is the subject of a book entitled "Cruel Games" by Rose Ciotta detailing Robbs efforts to use his professional training in creating predetermined outcomes by a series of false clues (dubbed "Game Theory") pitting himself against professional homicide investigators led by Castor. Castor uttered the oft quoted line "Professor Robb may be smarter than us, but he still is an amateur killer and we are professional catchers of killers."[12]
  • Guy Sileo - murdered his business partner in the General Wayne Inn, serving a life sentence for first degree murder. A highly circumstantial case, the "General Wayne Inn" murder has been the subject of numerous television portrayals.[5]

Attorney General Race[edit]

Castor ran for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania Attorney General in 2004 against Republican Tom Corbett. Furious that he had lost endorsements of the southeastern GOP chairmen, Castor attacked Corbett and the county chairmen with allegations of backroom deals with Bob Asher,[13] the state's national GOP committeeman.[14][15] Castor and Asher had feuded for several years and Asher's prior felony convictions for bribery, racketeering, and conspiracy in 1986 became a subject of the campaign.[14][16]

Castor was unable to produce proof of any conspiracy against him and ran without the party endorsement in all but two counties, his home base in Montgomery County and Monroe County. Castor lost 52.8% to 47.2%, despite winning overwhelmingly the same southeastern counties whose chairmen had repudiated him, and his home in Montgomery County, where he took nearly 82.5% of the vote.[17][18]The 2004 GOP Attorney General Primary was of great significance in Pennsylvania politics as it pitted Castor against Corbett, the candidate of convicted felon Bob Asher from Castor's home county. The immediate result of that election was the show the supremacy of Asher in Statewide GOP politics and Castor as only a regional politician from South East Pennsylvania. It was widely speculated that the 2004 GOP primary for Attorney General would produce the eventual GOP nominee for governor in 2010. In fact, that speculation turned out to be true when Corbett was nominated for governor in 2010 and subsequently elected. The long term fallout from the 2004 GOP Attorney General Primary election was the alienation of the more moderate Republicans from South East Pennsylvania from Republicans in the rest of the state creating a fissure in the party. As a result by 2014, the GOP had lost all statewide elected (non-judicial) posts but one, including failing to re-elect Corbett, the first incumbent governor in Pennsylvania history to be defeated. In addition, the GOP, while controlling handily both houses of the Pennsylvania Legislature, cast out of leadership all members of their own party representing districts from the SE part of the state. Thus, the 2004 GOP primary for Attorney General now is considered to have been a pivotal election for Pennsylvania as it split the Republican Party, with the more polarizing conservative wing taking dominance. This has led to the nomination of candidates that are unable to win general elections by not appealing to SE PA voters.

Private Practice[edit]

When his term as District Attorney expired in January 2008, Castor took a position at the Blue Bell, PA based litigation firm of Elliott, Greenleaf & Siedzikowski as a shareholder and director. One of his notable clients included Marko Jaric of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies who was accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia. Jaric was not charged in the case.[19] Newspaper accounts also attributed to Castor the extricating of Villanova University's Law School Dean from a Craig's list scandal and navigating his former boss, former DA Michael Marino, through an incident whereby Marino's nephew was charged with killing a man in Bucks County during a hunting mishap while in the company of Marino. On July 1, 2013, Castor joined the law firm of Rogers & Associates (subsequently renamed Rogers Castor) as a partner where he continues his litigation practice in Ardmore, PA with former Lower Merion Commissioner and former Republican state senate nominee, Lance Rogers.

Montgomery County Commissioner[edit]

In 2007, Castor challenged incumbent County Commissioner Tom Ellis, a one-time friend who had chaired Castor's campaigns in 1999 and 2003 but endorsed Corbett in 2004.[20] Early in the campaign, Castor commissioned a poll showing that Ellis, who had been hobbled by negative press surrounding an alleged domestic violence incidents, would lose in a general election.[21] Ellis released his own poll to try to refute Castor's charges that he was unelectable.[22] In a six candidate field, Castor won the endorsement on the first ballot, but his preferred running mate, former State Representative Melissa Murphy Weber, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Jim Matthews on the second ballot.

Initially, Castor was reluctant to run with Matthews saying he believed Matthews was "untrustworthy." However, amid widespread pressure that he would be splitting the party, Castor reluctantly relented and ran with Matthews against former Democratic Congressman Joe Hoeffel and incumbent commissioner Ruth Damsker in the general election.[23] During the campaign, some of Castor's earlier criticism of Matthews was raised by the Democrats, including financial support to Matthews from Bob Asher. Over Castor's objections who would not accept funds from a convicted felon, Matthews set up a separate campaign account from the Matthews/Castor account in order to collect contributions from Asher.[24] On election day, Castor won, taking first place in the general election setting an electoral record for the position. His running mate placed third, giving the GOP control of the commission. This was the first time in at least 140 years that a Republican failed to capture both the first and the second spot. Castor and Matthews served with Hoeffel, who finished second.[25] It was immediately a rocky relationship with all Castor's earlier predictions about Matthews being "untrustworthy" coming true. Matthews and Hoeffel sided against Castor shutting him out of setting county policy. Castor responded by repeatedly making allegations of corruption against his fellow commissioners charging mismanagement of county finances, the hiring of unqualified people, and in the conduct of county business. A subsequent grand jury report found questionable behavior on Hoeffel's part for his participation in discussing county business at private breakfast meetings held with Matthews and senior aides–an alleged violation of state Sunshine laws. However, unlike Matthews, who was later arrested for allegedly perjuring himself while testifying to the grand jury,[26] Hoeffel was never charged with criminal wrongdoing.[27][28] Nevertheless, Matthews and Hoeffel were unable to achieve endorsement for re-election and dropped out of the race, while GOP voters easily re-nominated Castor who was thus vindicated in his allegations of government corruption and mismanagement by Hoeffel and Matthews.

On November 8, 2011, Shapiro, Richards, and Castor were elected, marking the first time in county history Democrats controlled two of the three seats on the Board of Commissioners.[29] Shapiro was elected Chairman unanimously on nomination from Castor. All three members of the commission later noted the improved level of civility and functionality on the board, with Castor expressing pride in working with Shapiro and Richards whom he considered "honest."[30] The relationship amongst the three Commissioners later prompted one Philadelphia Inquirer columnist to note that she owed Castor an apology for considering his complaints about the prior county administration "sour grapes".[31]Shapiro and Castor are both frequently mentioned as possible gubernatorial candidates, though each have said that they will not run in 2014 preferring to use their positions along with Richards to fix the problems left them by the prior administration. In public, the two men act as friendly rivals often lavishly complimenting one another tongue in cheek. Privately, it is rumored that Castor and Shapiro shrewdly work to compromise all potentially partisan issues that come before the Board to avoid dissension and arrive at consensus. Each having to endure the complaints from their respective parties that they are "too cosy" as a result. In 2014, rumors swirl that Castor will seek to return to his old post as District Attorney or run for county judge. Despite these rumors, Castor claims he is content running for re-election as commissioner and continuing his burgeoning law practice at the Rogers Castor firm. Castor has said nothing of running for an office other than the one he currently holds.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.politicspa.com/brucecastor-com-and-other-moves-by-the-montco-commish/46391/
  2. ^ Marcovitz, Hal (January 3, 2000). "County Commissioners, Others to be Sworn In". The Allentown Morning Call. Retrieved January 18, 2012. 
  3. ^ Prosecutors end Cosby investigation, CNN, 2/22/05
  4. ^ Dale, MarieClaire (2007-10-26). "Teen Admits School-Assault Plot". Associated Press, Carried at abcnews.com. Retrieved 2008-07-19. [dead link]
  5. ^ a b Families, friends of victims give support to candidate, Pottstown Mercury 4/24/04
  6. ^ CNN:Crime
  7. ^ Maurice Possley and Steve Mills, In depth: Crimes go unsolved as DNA profiles not sent to FBI, Chicago Tribune, Reprinted in St. Augustine Record, 10/6/04
  8. ^ Sara Rimer, Convict’s DNA Sways Labs, Not a Determined Prosecutor, New York Times, Reprinted at www.crimlaw.com, 10/6/02
  9. ^ Caleb Fairley Case, Crimelibrary.com Caleb Fairley case at crimelibrary.com
  10. ^ Anne Barnard, Steve Ritea and Ralph Vigoda, Rabinowitz Admits Killing Wife - A dream urged him to `do the right thing', Philadelphia Inquirer, 10-31-97
  11. ^ Husband guilty of murder - obsession with stripper led to strangulation, Associated Press, 10-31-97
  12. ^ "Teen Ex-Penn Professor Pleads Guilty In Wife's Death". Associated Press, Carried at cbs3.com. 2007-11-27. Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  13. ^ Gibbons, Margaret (2004-06-04). "Castor backs Corbett in attorney general race". The Colonial. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  14. ^ a b Patel, Mary (2004-01-22). "Castor Roiled". Philadelphia City Paper. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  15. ^ Erdley, Debra (2004-04-22). "Most still undecided on Corbett, Castor". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  16. ^ "Editorial: A rare public dispute in ranks of the GOP". Delco Times. 2004-02-06. 
  17. ^ Election Returns, May 2004, PA Department of State
  18. ^ Corbett, Eisenhower win in attorney general race, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/28/04
  19. ^ Chris Mannix (2009-03-13). "Grizzlies' Jaric not charged after probe into alleged sexual assault". Sports Illustrated, SI.com. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  20. ^ Shields, Jeff (2004-02-07). "Castor formalizes run for Montco seat". Philadelphia Inquirer. 
  21. ^ "Poll Commissioned by Castor Campaign" (PDF). PoliticsPA.com. 
  22. ^ William Mulgrew (2007-01-31). "Ellis Backs Candidacy With Poll Numbers". The Bulletin. 
  23. ^ William Mulgrew (2007-02-27). "Montco GOP Tries To Make Up". The Bulletin. 
  24. ^ Margaret Gibbons (2007-09-24). "Dems want Asher money returned". Pottstown Mercury. 
  25. ^ Jacob Fenton (2007-11-07). "Montco Republicans are winners". The Intelligencer. 
  26. ^ Coughlin, Matt (July 18, 2012). "Ex Montco commissioner to serve probation on false swearing charge, but unrepentant". PhillyBurbs.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  27. ^ Gibbons, Margaret (May 25, 2012). "Matthews' day in court could come on May 31". PhillyBurbs.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  28. ^ DeHuff, Jenny (December 6, 2011). "Commissioner Matthews arrested, resigns as chairman". The Times Herald. Retrieved August 13, 2012. 
  29. ^ Rawlins, John. "Democrats historically gain control of Montgomery County". Elections. ABC News. Retrieved August 10, 2012. 
  30. ^ Roebuck, Jeremy (April 16, 2012). "Peace has come to the Montco commission". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 
  31. ^ Heller, Karen (March 21, 2012). "Karen Heller: What's great for Montco also bit of a bummer". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 12, 2012. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Michael Marino
District Attorney of Montgomery County
2000–2008
Succeeded by
Risa Vetri Ferman
Political offices
Preceded by
Tom Ellis
Member of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners
with Josh Shapiro and Leslie Richards

2008–Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent