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|Bruce L. Castor, Jr.|
|Attorney General of Pennsylvania
August 17 – 31, 2016
|Preceded by||Kathleen Kane|
|Succeeded by||Bruce Beemer|
|Solicitor General of Pennsylvania|
March 21, 2016 – September 9, 2016
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Member of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners|
January 7, 2008 – January 4, 2016
Served with Jim Matthews, Joe Hoeffel, Josh Shapiro, Leslie Richards, Val Arkoosh
|Preceded by||Tom Ellis|
|Succeeded by||Joe Gale|
|District Attorney of Montgomery County|
January 3, 2000 – January 7, 2008
|Preceded by||Michael Marino|
|Succeeded by||Risa Vetri Ferman|
October 24, 1961 |
Abington, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Alma mater||Lafayette College (AB)
Washington and Lee University (JD)
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. General Castor became Acting Attorney General less than a month later.
Castor was an assistant district attorney from 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 Ardmore, PA, based law firm of Rogers Castor and a special assistant district attorney of Centre County, PA. 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. 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. Governor Tom Wolf later nominated Bruce Beemer to fulfill the remaining balance of Kane's term which expired in January, 2017.
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. 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 GOP governor or GOP US Senate office in the United States in 2014 to change parties in the General Election. This created 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
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. After his second term ended, and 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, the alleged victim in the Montgomery County Cosby case sued Castor, claiming he defamed her by intimating she was not credible. The Washington Post said that this suit, coupled with Castor's limited ability to respond because of family medical issues (his mother was severely injured in a car accident on October 26, 2015), contributed to Castor's defeat.
- 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."  In November, 2014 and through the November 2015 election, Castor's decision became a media flashpoint, especially when other women came forward to accuse Cosby. Castor, however, correctly assessed 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. On December 30, 2015, with the statute of limitations about to expire, Cosby was charged with felony sexual assault. 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.
- Dillon Cossey - Planned a Columbine-style attack on a local high school. Cossey was convicted in juvenile court.
- 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.
- Caleb Fairley - sexually assaulted and murdered a mother and her child in his parents' shop, serving a double life sentence. The case was the first time DNA evidence was used to convict a killer in Montgomery County. It formed the basis for the book "Vampire Trap" by Katherine Ramsland.
- 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.
- Craig Rabinowitz - murdered his wife for the life insurance money to get him out of debt from his pyramid scheme, as well as 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.
- 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 that details Robb's efforts to use his professional training in creating predetermined outcomes by a series of false clues (dubbed "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."
- 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.
Attorney General race
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, the state's national GOP committeeman. 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 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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
In January 2015, Castor and Rogers agreed to represent Centre County, PA, District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller, a Democrat embroiled in a controversy with the Centre County government administration controlled by Republicans. This placed Castor, a lifelong Republican, at odds with his own party. Parks Miller was under attack from some members of the criminal defense bar who teamed with the Republican county administration accusing her of forgery and heavy-handed tactics. She was also accused of texting a judge during courthouse proceedings, violating a defentant's right to a fair trial. The basis of this were cell phone records containing no content that were gathered through a right-to-know request later determined by an appellate court to have been illegally released by the Republican Centre County administration.
Police searched Parks Miller's county office and seized numerous items. Castor succeeded in having the items returned, and embarked on a counterattack resulting in a court injunction against Centre County. To turn back efforts to remove Parks Miller as the prosecutor, Castor accepted an appointment as a special Centre County Assistant District Attorney to represent the office in court. As a result, Parks Miller continues as the prosecutor in all contested cases. Castor remains a special Centre County Assistant District Attorney to prosecute such matters as "the District Attorney may from time to time require," according to his oath of office. The effect is that Castor might at any time appear on behalf of the Commonwealth in Centre County without warning to the defense, and has done so on several occasions. On July 31, 2015, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania announced that a grand jury had cleared Parks Miller of forgery allegations and exonerated her of criminal responsibility. It was also revealed that Castor had warned the Centre County administration in January 2015 not to go down the road adverse to the DA that it ultimately did. On August 28, 2015, the Rogers Castor Firm, in a complaint initially drafted by Castor, sued Centre County, a Centre County judge, the county commissioners, county solicitor, county administrator, the woman who Castor alleged had falsely accused the DA of forgery, and several criminal defense lawyers, for civil rights violations and defamation. A visiting, special assigned judge, at Castor's suggestion, later ordered the individual county defendants to obtain their own lawyers separate from the lawyer for Centre County. The Centre County administration that had opposed Parks Miller was voted out of office on the same day Castor was defeated in his bid to return as Montgomery County District Attorney.
Montgomery County Commissioner
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. 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. Ellis released his own poll to try to refute Castor's charges that he was unelectable. 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. 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. 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. 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, Hoeffel was never charged with criminal wrongdoing. 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 Tsp. 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. 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." 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". 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. (Richards was succeeded by Dr. Valerie Arkoosh in 2015 upon the former's appointment as PA Secretary of Transportation under newly elected Gov. Tom Wolf) In public, the two men, Shapiro and Castor, act as friendly rivals often lavishly complimenting one another tongue in cheek. Privately, it was rumored that Castor and Shapiro shrewdly worked to compromise all potentially partisan issues that came 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 2014-15, 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
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. Instead, Kane offered him the newly created position of Solicitor General of Pennsylvania (later merged into the job of First Deputy Attorney General), 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. 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. Castor was expected to serve in that capacity until January, 2017 and then resume his full-time law practice.
However, following Democrat Katheleen Kane's resignation, Republican Castor surprisingly found himself 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. After Castor assumed the office of Acting Attorney General, he was the subject of criticism, and on August 30, 2016, Bruce Beemer succeeded Castor as Attorney General. Castor resigned from the Office of Attorney General on September 9, 2016 having reverted to his titles as First Deputy Attorney General and, finally, Solicitor General.
- Angela Couloumbis and Jeremy Roebuck (2016-03-30). "A.G. Kane hires Castor as a top aide". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-03-31.
- Couloumbis, Angela; McCoy, Craig R. (August 16, 2016). "Attorney General Kathleen Kane to resign". Philadelphia Media Network. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
- Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Kathleen Granahan Kane (2015) CP-46-CR-0006239-2015
- Marcovitz, Hal (January 3, 2000). "County Commissioners, Others to be Sworn In". The Allentown Morning Call. Retrieved January 18, 2012.
- Moyer, Justin Wm. (February 4, 2016). "The prosecutor undone by a 'secret agreement' with Bill Cosby". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
- Prosecutors end Cosby investigation, CNN, 2/22/05
- "Bill Cosby Is Charged With Felony Sex Crime Over 2004 Case". npr.org. NPR. 2015-12-30. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- Chris Mondics (2016-02-05). "Legal observers puzzled by Castor no-prosecute pledge". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
- Dale, MarieClaire (2007-10-26). "Teen Admits School-Assault Plot". Associated Press, Carried at abcnews.com. Retrieved 2008-07-19.[dead link]
- Families, friends of victims give support to candidate, Pottstown Mercury 4/24/04
- 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
- Sara Rimer, Convict’s DNA Sways Labs, Not a Determined Prosecutor, New York Times, Reprinted at www.crimlaw.com, 10/6/02
- Caleb Fairley Case, Crimelibrary.com Caleb Fairley case at crimelibrary.com Archived July 5, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- 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
- Husband guilty of murder - obsession with stripper led to strangulation, Associated Press, 10-31-97
- "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.
- 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.
- Patel, Mary (2004-01-22). "Castor Roiled". Philadelphia City Paper. Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- Erdley, Debra (2004-04-22). "Most still undecided on Corbett, Castor". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 2008-07-19.
- "Editorial: A rare public dispute in ranks of the GOP". Delco Times. 2004-02-06.[permanent dead link]
- Election Returns, May 2004, PA Department of State
- Corbett, Eisenhower win in attorney general race, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/28/04
- Chris Mannix (2009-03-13). "Grizzlies' Jaric not charged after probe into alleged sexual assault". Sports Illustrated, SI.com. Retrieved 2009-05-03.
- Shields, Jeff (2004-02-07). "Castor formalizes run for Montco seat". Philadelphia Inquirer.
- "Poll Commissioned by Castor Campaign" (PDF). PoliticsPA.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28.
- William Mulgrew (2007-01-31). "Ellis Backs Candidacy With Poll Numbers". The Bulletin.
- William Mulgrew (2007-02-27). "Montco GOP Tries To Make Up". The Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
- Margaret Gibbons (2007-09-24). "Dems want Asher money returned". Pottstown Mercury.[permanent dead link]
- Jacob Fenton (2007-11-07). "Montco Republicans are winners". The Intelligencer.
- Coughlin, Matt (July 18, 2012). "Ex Montco commissioner to serve probation on false swearing charge, but unrepentant". PhillyBurbs.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Gibbons, Margaret (May 25, 2012). "Matthews' day in court could come on May 31". PhillyBurbs.com. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- DeHuff, Jenny (December 6, 2011). "Commissioner Matthews arrested, resigns as chairman". The Times Herald. Retrieved August 13, 2012.
- Rawlins, John. "Democrats historically gain control of Montgomery County". Elections. ABC News. Retrieved August 10, 2012.
- Roebuck, Jeremy (April 16, 2012). "Peace has come to the Montco commission". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- Heller, Karen (March 21, 2012). "Karen Heller: What's great for Montco also bit of a bummer". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
- "Governor nominates former state prosecutor Beemer to replace Kane". Philadelphia Inquirer. 19 August 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
|Attorney General of Pennsylvania