Bruce Castor

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Bruce L. Castor Jr.
Attorney General of Pennsylvania
In office
August 17, 2016 – August 31, 2016
GovernorTom Wolf
Preceded byKathleen Kane
Succeeded byBruce Beemer
Solicitor General of Pennsylvania
In office
March 21, 2016 – September 9, 2016
GovernorTom Wolf
Preceded byPosition established
Member of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners
In office
January 7, 2008 – January 4, 2016
Served with Jim Matthews, Joe Hoeffel, Josh Shapiro, Leslie Richards, Val Arkoosh
Preceded byTom Ellis
Succeeded byJoe Gale
District Attorney of Montgomery County
In office
January 3, 2000 – January 7, 2008
Preceded byMichael D. Marino
Succeeded byRisa Vetri Ferman
Personal details
Born (1961-10-24) October 24, 1961 (age 57)
Abington, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Alma materLafayette College (AB)
Washington and Lee University (JD)
WebsiteOfficial website

Bruce L. Castor Jr. (born October 24, 1961) is an American lawyer and retired Republican politician from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. He was appointed as the first Solicitor General of Pennsylvania on March 21, 2016, and First Deputy Attorney General on July 20, 2016, effectively merging the two positions and making him next in line of succession to become attorney general. Castor became Acting Attorney General less than a month later.

After serving stints beginning in 1981 with, respectively, the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, the Northampton County (PA) District Attorney's Office, as an LBJ Congressional Scholar (Washington, DC) and defending Federal prisoners at FCI-Alderson (WV), Castor began his professional career as an assistant district attorney in 1985 before becoming district attorney of Montgomery County from 2000 to 2008. He next took a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners, an elected position he held until January 4, 2016, when he was succeeded by Joe Gale. Castor was defeated for re-election as Montgomery County's District Attorney in November 2015. Castor is a partner in the law firm of Rogers Castor and completed a nearly three year term as a special assistant district attorney of Centre County, Pennsylvania on December 31, 2017, followed by an appointment as a special assistant district attorney of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania on January 6, 2018. On March 29, 2016, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Castor's appointment (back-dated to March 21, when he actually took office) to the newly-created position of Solicitor General of Pennsylvania.[1] While he operated freely as the de facto Attorney General and was widely recognized as such, Castor formally became the state's Acting Attorney General, replacing Kane, who resigned on August 17, 2016, following a conviction of a third degree felony perjury charge and several related misdemeanors.[2][3] Governor Tom Wolf later nominated Bruce Beemer to fulfill the remaining balance of Kane's term which expired in January 2017.

Statewide profile[edit]

According to multiple reports, Castor explored a bid for Governor of Pennsylvania in 2014. A May 6, 2013, report in The Legal Intelligencer also mentioned Castor as a possible appointee to a vacant position on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Castor issued a public statement that he would not run for governor in 2014, but would accept the supreme court appointment if it was offered.[4] Eventually, Tom Corbett, who had defeated Castor in the 2004 Republican primary for Attorney General (as discussed below), and later became governor of Pennsylvania, ended up being the only Republican governor's office or Republican U.S. Senate seat to change parties in the 2014 general election. This created speculation that if state Republican 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.[citation needed]

Montgomery County District Attorney[edit]

After serving in the office since 1985, Castor was twice elected district attorney for Montgomery County, in which he is a lifelong resident, assuming office in January 2000.[5] After his second term ended, he was succeeded by Risa Vetri Ferman. When she sought (and won) election as judge in November 2015, Castor sought to return to that office, but lost to Ferman's first assistant, Kevin Steele, who ran an 11th-hour campaign contending Castor should have charged entertainer Bill Cosby in 2005. Castor countered that Steele could have arrested Cosby himself in the intervening years if he believed credible evidence existed to do so. A week before the election, Andrea Constand, who had accused Cosby of sexual assault in Montgomery County, sued Castor, claiming he defamed her by intimating she was not credible.[6] The Washington Post said that this suit contributed to Castor's defeat.[7] In November 2017, Castor sued Costand and her lawyers for defamation, charging that the lawsuit and its timing were retaliatory and ruined his political career.[8] In 2017, Cosby stood trial, but the trial ended in a hung jury with jurors unable to agree on Cosby's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as Castor had predicted in 2005 would happen if he had elected to charge Cosby. However at Cosby’s retrial he was convicted on all three counts and has been sentenced to serve 3 to 10 years in prison.

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." [9] In November, 2014 and through the November 2015 election, Castor's decision was heavily criticized, especially when other women came forward to accuse Cosby. Castor, however, correctly assessed[citation needed] that none of these women known to him at the time would have been allowed to testify, making them legally irrelevant to the question of whether Castor should have arrested Cosby. A judge in 2017 confirmed the correctness of Castor's legal analysis.[10][11] On December 30, 2015, with the statute of limitations about to expire, Cosby was charged with felony sexual assault.[12] At a preliminary hearing on February 2, 2016, Castor testified that he made a promise to never prosecute Cosby for the incident, but Judge Steven T. O'Neill (whom Castor had defeated to become district attorney in 1999 in a bitterly fought intra-party contest) ruled that the promise was not legally binding on the current district attorney, and ordered that the criminal case to proceed.[13]
  • Dillon Cossey - Planned a Columbine-style attack on a local high school. Cossey was convicted in juvenile court.[14]
  • John Eichinger - The most prolific arrested 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.[citation needed]
  • Caleb Fairley - Fairley sexually assaulted and murdered a mother and her child in his parents' shop, earning a double life sentence. The case was the first time DNA evidence was used to convict a killer in Montgomery County. The Fairley case formed the basis for the book Vampire Trap by Katherine Ramsland.[15] Castor is featured on the episode of Forensic Files ("Shopping Spree") devoted to the case.
  • Bruce Godschalk - Godschalk was 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. In 2009, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a similar case that Castor's interpretation of the law relating to DNA testing was correct after all.[16][17][18][19]
  • Craig Rabinowitz - Rabinowitz murdered his wife for the life insurance money to pay debts arising from a pyramid scheme, and to leave him free to pursue his obsession with a stripper. The case was front-page news for months and became the subject of multiple television programs and a book by Ken Englade called Everybody's Best Friend. He pleaded guilty to first degree murder and is serving a life sentence.[20][21]
  • Rafael Robb - Robb, a University of Pennsylvania professor of Game Theory, was accused of murdering his wife in a rage. Pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 5–10 years in prison, a sentence many believe was too lenient, with Castor arguing for a 20-year prison term. [22] The case is the subject of a book entitled Cruel Games by Rose Ciotta that details Robb's efforts to use his professional training in creating predetermined outcomes by a series of false clues (i.e., "Game Theory") to pit 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."[failed verification][23]
  • Guy Sileo - 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.[15]

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,[24] the state's national GOP committeeman.[25][26] Castor and Asher had feuded for several years due to Asher's prior felony convictions for perjury, bribery, racketeering, and conspiracy in 1986 in the context of a political corruption scandal which also involved the State Treasurer, R. Budd Dwyer, leading to Dwyer's committing suicide at a press conference before his sentencing. Asher had been state GOP Chair during the scandal and was convicted for participating in the bribery of Dwyer. Asher's criminal past, connected to a political bribery scheme while he was the Rubublican state chair, became a subject of the campaign for the state's top law enforcement post.[25][27]

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.[28][29] The 2004 GOP Attorney General Primary was of great significance in Pennsylvania politics as it pitted Corbett against Castor, a candidate from Asher's home county. The immediate result of that election was to show the supremacy of Asher in Statewide GOP politics and Castor as only a regional politician popular only in South East Pennsylvania. It was widely speculated at the time 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 before becoming the first governor in PA history to lose for re-election four years later in what was otherwise an overwhelming Republican year nationwide. 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, a disaster for the Pennsylvania GOP leadership. In addition, the GOP, while controlling handily both houses of the Pennsylvania Legislature, cast out of leadership almost 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 unable to win general elections by not appealing to SE PA voters and the designation of Pennsylvania as a firmly "blue" state. In 2016, Donald Trump carried Pennsylvania and GOP Senator Pat Toomey was re-elected. However, state Democrats won all three statewide "row office" races.[citation needed]

Private practice[edit]

When his term as district attorney expired in January 2008, Castor took a position at the litigation firm of Elliott, Greenleaf & Siedzikowski in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania as a shareholder and director. One of his notable clients was professional basketball player Marko Jaric of the Memphis Grizzlies, who was accused of sexual assault in Philadelphia. Jaric was not charged in the case.[30] In 2009, Castor represented Mark Sargent, who was investigated (but not charged) for patronizing a brothel while he served as dean of the Villanova University School of Law.[31] In 2010, Castor represented his former boss, attorney Michael D. Marino, whose nephew accidentally shot and killed a man while hunting.[32] Marino, a former Montgomery County D.A., was present when the shooting occurred, despite knowing that his nephew was prohibited from owning and using firearms, owing to a felony conviction.[32] Marino was not charged in the case. On July 1, 2013, Castor joined the law firm of Rogers & Associates (subsequently renamed Rogers Castor) as a partner where he continues his now only civil-litigation practice in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, 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.[33] Early in the campaign, Castor commissioned a poll showing that Ellis, who had been hobbled by negative press surrounding alleged domestic violence incidents, would lose in a general election.[34] Ellis released his own poll to try to refute Castor's charges that he was unelectable.[35] In a six candidate field, Castor won the party 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 relented and ran with Matthews against former Democratic Congressman Joe Hoeffel and incumbent commissioner Ruth Damsker in the general election.[36] 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.[37] On election day, Castor won, taking first place in the general election setting an electoral record at the time 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.[38] 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,[39] Hoeffel was never charged with criminal wrongdoing.[40][41] 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, St. Rep. Josh Shapiro, Whitemarsh Twp. Supervisor Leslie Richards, and Castor were elected, marking the first time in county history Democrats controlled two of the three seats on the Board of Commissioners.[42] 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."[43] 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".[44] Shapiro and Castor are both frequently mentioned as possible gubernatorial candidates, though each declined to run in 2014, preferring to use their positions along with Richards to fix the problems left them by the prior administration. In 2014–15, rumors swirled that Castor would seek to return to his old post as district attorney or run for county judge. Those rumors turned out to be correct when Castor for a third time received the Republican nomination for district attorney on May 19, 2015. The news was met with widespread approval from law enforcement groups and members of the legal community, with the general consensus being Castor was far more effective as DA than as commissioner in first a corrupt administration, and later while helping to repair the damage wrought by that corruption. In response, Castor simply maintained that while he liked working with Shapiro, he missed his old job too much. On November 3, 2015, Castor was defeated in his effort to return to the district attorney's post and Joe Gale was elected to succeed Castor as county commissioner. Upon retiring from county service after 30 years on January 4, 2016, Castor began practicing law full-time with the Rogers Castor firm as a trial lawyer.

Solicitor general and acting attorney general[edit]

On March 21, 2016, Castor took the oath of office as the first Solicitor General of Pennsylvania. Being summoned to her Scranton office by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane on March 4, 2016, without explanation, Castor met General Kane expecting her to request him to represent her in a private capacity[citation needed]. Instead, Kane offered him the newly created position of Solicitor General of Pennsylvania (later merged into the job of first deputy attorney general)[citation needed], and Castor accepted. As solicitor general, Castor was empowered to make all final legal decisions of the Office of Attorney General and in all other respects operate as "the most senior deputy attorney general of the Commonwealth" according to the order creating the position[citation needed]. The move was necessitated because the Attorney General had her license to practice law suspended by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Castor was supposedly subordinate to Kane in all matters except for making legal decisions on behalf of Pennsylvania, though most observers considered him the de facto attorney general, a fact later confirmed upon Kane's resignation. In practice, Castor operated as a bridge between Kane and the remainder of the office of attorney general, in addition to being the final word on legal matters, in order to make the executive portion of the office function properly.

However, following Democrat Kathleen Kane's sudden resignation, Republican Castor was sworn in as Acting Attorney General of Pennsylvania, no longer simply de facto attorney general, though later that week Democrat Governor Tom Wolf nominated Democrat Inspector General Bruce Beemer to serve the remainder of Kane's term. The Pennsylvania Senate confirmed the nomination quickly.[45] After Castor assumed the office of Acting Attorney General, he was the subject of criticism,[46] and on August 30, 2016, Bruce Beemer succeeded Castor as attorney general. Castor resigned from the office of attorney general on September 9, 2016, reverting to first deputy attorney general and, finally, solicitor general.


  1. ^ Angela Couloumbis and Jeremy Roebuck (2016-03-30). "A.G. Kane hires Castor as a top aide". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
  2. ^ Couloumbis, Angela; McCoy, Craig R. (August 16, 2016). "Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  3. ^ Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Kathleen Granahan Kane (2015) CP-46-CR-0006239-2015
  4. ^
  5. ^ Marcovitz, Hal (January 3, 2000). "County Commissioners, Others to be Sworn In". The Allentown Morning Call. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Moyer, Justin Wm. (February 4, 2016). "The prosecutor undone by a 'secret agreement' with Bill Cosby". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  8. ^ "Former Pennsylvania district attorney sues Cosby accuser for alleged defamation". ABC News. 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2018-02-07.
  9. ^ Prosecutors end Cosby investigation, CNN, 2/22/05
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Bill Cosby Is Charged With Felony Sex Crime Over 2004 Case". NPR. 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  13. ^ Chris Mondics (2016-02-05). "Legal observers puzzled by Castor no-prosecute pledge". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  14. ^ Dale, MarieClaire (2007-10-26). "Teen Admits School-Assault Plot". Associated Press, Carried at Retrieved 2008-07-19.[dead link]
  15. ^ a b Families, friends of victims give support to candidate, Pottstown Mercury 4/24/04 Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ CNN:Crime
  17. ^ "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". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
  18. ^ Sara Rimer, Convict’s DNA Sways Labs, Not a Determined Prosecutor, The New York Times, Reprinted at, 10/6/02 Archived 2007-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Caleb Fairley Case, Caleb Fairley case at Archived July 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ Anne Barnard, Steve Ritea and Ralph Vigoda, Rabinowitz Admits Killing Wife - A dream urged him to `do the right thing', The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10-31-97
  21. ^ Husband guilty of murder - obsession with stripper led to strangulation, Associated Press, 10-31-97
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Teen Ex-Penn Professor Pleads Guilty In Wife's Death". Associated Press, Carried at 2007-11-27. Archived from the original on 2008-04-23. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  24. ^ Gibbons, Margaret (2004-06-04). "Castor backs Corbett in attorney general race". The Colonial. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  25. ^ a b Patel, Mary (2004-01-22). "Castor Roiled". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  26. ^ Erdley, Debra (2004-04-22). "Most still undecided on Corbett, Castor". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on 2009-11-03. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
  27. ^ "Editorial: A rare public dispute in ranks of the GOP". Delco Times. 2004-02-06.[permanent dead link]
  28. ^ Election Returns, May 2004, PA Department of State Archived 2007-02-19 at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ Corbett, Eisenhower win in attorney general race, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/28/04
  30. ^ Chris Mannix (2009-03-13). "Grizzlies' Jaric not charged after probe into alleged sexual assault". Sports Illustrated, Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
  31. ^ "Villanova Dean Resigned Over Prostitution". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  32. ^ a b "It took 9 days for former D.A. to come clean on hunter's shooting death, affidavit says - Philly". Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  33. ^ Shields, Jeff (2004-02-07). "Castor formalizes run for Montco seat". The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  34. ^ "Poll Commissioned by Castor Campaign" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28.
  35. ^ William Mulgrew (2007-01-31). "Ellis Backs Candidacy With Poll Numbers". The Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27.
  36. ^ William Mulgrew (2007-02-27). "Montco GOP Tries To Make Up". The Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
  37. ^ Margaret Gibbons (2007-09-24). "Dems want Asher money returned". Pottstown Mercury.[permanent dead link]
  38. ^ Jacob Fenton (2007-11-07). "Montco Republicans are winners". The Intelligencer. Archived from the original on 2008-01-24.
  39. ^ Coughlin, Matt (July 18, 2012). "Ex Montco commissioner to serve probation on false swearing charge, but unrepentant". Archived from the original on January 4, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  40. ^ Gibbons, Margaret (May 25, 2012). "Matthews' day in court could come on May 31". Archived from the original on February 1, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  41. ^ DeHuff, Jenny (December 6, 2011). "Commissioner Matthews arrested, resigns as chairman". The Times Herald. Archived from the original on November 10, 2014. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
  42. ^ Rawlins, John. "Democrats historically gain control of Montgomery County". Elections. ABC News. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
  43. ^ Roebuck, Jeremy (April 16, 2012). "Peace has come to the Montco commission". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  44. ^ Heller, Karen (March 21, 2012). "Karen Heller: What's great for Montco also bit of a bummer". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  45. ^ "Governor nominates former state prosecutor Beemer to replace Kane". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  46. ^

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Kathleen Kane
Attorney General of Pennsylvania

Succeeded by
Bruce Beemer