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Bruce L. Castor, Jr.

Incumbent
Assumed office 
January 7, 2008[1]
Serving with Joe Hoeffel and Jim Matthews
Preceded by Tom Ellis

In office
January 3, 2000[2] – January 7, 2008
Preceded by Michael Marino
Succeeded by Risa Vetri Ferman

Born October 24, 1961
Political party Republican Party
Alma mater Lafayette College
J.D., Washington and Lee University

Bruce L. Castor, Jr. (born October 24, 1961) is an American lawyer and Republican politician from Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Castor was district attorney for Montgomery County from January 2000 through January 2008 when he took a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. In addition to his governmental role, Castor is a shareholder and director of the Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. based litigation firm of Elliott, Greenleaf & Siedzikowski.

Contents

Legal career

Early career

Castor began his legal career in 1985 as an intern in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office. Castor was subsequently hired as an Assistant District Attorney under Thomas Waters. Castor served as an Assistant District Attorney in the Sex Crimes Unit, Captain of the Major Crimes Unit, and Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Investigating Grand Jury before becoming Deputy District Attorney and Chief of the Trials Division in 1991.

Upon William Carpenter's departure to Montgomery County Judiciary in 1993, then-District Attorney Michael D. Marino appointed Castor as First Assistant District Attorney. In that position and later as District Attorney, Castor supervised wiretap and homicide investigations and successfully prosecuted a string of high-profile murders.

Tenure as Montgomery County District Attorney

Upon becoming District Attorney in January 2000, Castor quickly developed a reputation for aggressive law enforcement. Castor used forfeiture laws and wiretaps to effectively prosecute drug dealers and break up drug rings. Castor was able to maintain a 98% conviction rate as District Attorney while continuing to prosecute high profile cases personally.

From 2000 to 2008, Castor served on the Executive Committee of the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association and was elected Vice-President of that organization in 2006 and President in 2007. In 2007 as his career in law enforcement was winding down, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the County and State Detectives' Association inducted Castor into the Pennsylvania Police Hall of Fame. In 2008, the Montgomery Bar Association recognized Castor's "Lifetime Achievement" in law enforcement, and the Pennsylvania District Attorney's Association granted him it's Meritorious Service Award.

Notable Cases

  • 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]
  • 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 pilot for a television show based on Castor's career called "Probable Cause."
  • Caleb Fairley - sexually assaulted and murdered a mother and her child in his parents' shop, serving a double life sentence.[5]
  • Robert Fisher - murdered a woman who was a witness to his involvement in another murder as part of a drug trafficking case. He is on death row.
  • 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]
  • Thomas Hawkins - sexually assaulted and murdered his young niece after doing a similar crime as a juvenile in another county and being released on parole. Hawkins is on death row.
  • Craig Rabinowitz - murdered his wife to elope with a stripper. This case was 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.[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]
  • Pedro Vega/Jack Fink - murdered a young pregnant woman by beating, shooting, and burning her while still alive. Both serving life sentences. The case was noteworthy for being totally circumstantial and for the fact that Castor,and investigators working at his direction reconstructed the dead woman from skeletal remains and arrested Fink and Vega before learning her identity. True Detective magazine profiled the case.

Private Practice

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.[13] Castor also purportedly represented Villanova University Law School Dean Mark Sargent in connection with allegations that Sargent was involved in an investigation surrounding prostitution over the internet site Craigslist. Sargent also was not charged in the case. (Philadelphia Inquirer 7/2/09)

Political career

District Attorney

In 1999, incumbent district attorney Michael D. Marino left to run for County Commissioner with Jim Matthews. Castor secured the GOP nomination to replace Marino. Castor won election in 1999 and re-election in 2003. He led the ticket on both occasions and set a record for the highest vote total ever in a countywide contested election in 2003.

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[14], the state's national GOP committeeman.[15][16] Castor and Asher had feuded for several years and Asher's prior conviction for bribery, racketeering, and conspiracy in 1986 became a subject of the campaign.[15][17]

In the end, 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 the southeastern counties, including his home in Montgomery County, where he took nearly 82.5% of the vote.[18][19]

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.[20] Early in the campaign, Castor commissioned a poll showing that Ellis, who had been hobbled by negative press surrounding an alleged domestic violence incident, would lose in a general election.[21] Ellis released his own poll to try and 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 Rep. Melissa Murphy Weber, was narrowly defeated by incumbent Jim Matthews on the second ballot.

Initially, Castor was reluctant to run with Matthews. However, amid widespread pressure that he would be spliting the party, Castor 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, Matthews set up a separate campaign account from the Matthews/Castor account in order to collect contributions form Asher.[24] Castor stated that he would not accept campaign contributions from a convicted felon, nor would he benefit from any such contributions in urging Matthews not to take Asher's money.

On election day, Castor won, taking first place in the general election. 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 the second spot. Castor and Matthews serve with Hoeffel, who finished second.[25]

Personal

Castor is an alumnus of Chestnut Hill Academy.

He earned his undergraduate degree in Government and Law from Lafayette College and a law degree from Washington and Lee University. He attended the FBI National Academy in 1993.

Castor married the former Elizabeth Pierce in 1989 and they are the parents of two children, Bruce III and Alexandra.

References

  1. ^ The Intelligencer
  2. ^ The Allentown Morning Call
  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. http://a.abcnews.com/US/wireStory?id=3782761. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  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. http://cbs3.com/local/Rafael.Robb.University.2.595083.html. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  13. ^ Chris Mannix (2009-03-13). "Grizzlies' Jaric not charged after probe into alleged sexual assault". Sports Illustrated, SI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/basketball/nba/03/13/jaric/index.html. Retrieved 2009-05-03. 
  14. ^ Gibbons, Margaret (2004-06-04). "Castor backs Corbett in attorney general race". The Colonial. http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?BRD=1306&dept_id=187819&newsid=11858398&PAG=461&rfi=9. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  15. ^ a b Patel, Mary (2004-01-22). "Castor Roiled". Philadelphia City Paper. http://www.citypaper.net/articles/2004-01-22/polnote.shtml. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  16. ^ Erdley, Debra (2004-04-22). "Most still undecided on Corbett, Castor". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/s_190535.html. Retrieved 2008-07-19. 
  17. ^ "Editorial: A rare public dispute in ranks of the GOP". Delco Times. 2004-02-06. http://www.delcotimes.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=10927797&BRD=1675&PAG=461&dept_id=18171&rfi=8. 
  18. ^ Election Returns, May 2004, PA Department of State
  19. ^ Corbett, Eisenhower win in attorney general race, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/28/04
  20. ^ Shields, Jeff (2004-02-07). "Castor formalizes run for Montco seat". Philadelphia Inquirer. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_kmtpi/is_200702/ai_n18667935. 
  21. ^ "Poll Commissioned by Castor Campaign" (PDF). PoliticsPA.com. http://www.politicspa.com/temp/castor2.pdf. 
  22. ^ William Mulgrew (2007-01-31). "Ellis Backs Candidacy With Poll Numbers". The Bulletin. http://www.thebulletin.us/site/news.cfm?newsid=17790016&BRD=2737&PAG=461&dept_id=576361&rfi=6. 
  23. ^ William Mulgrew (2007-02-27). "Montco GOP Tries To Make Up". The Bulletin. http://www.thebulletin.us/site/news.cfm?newsid=18097861&BRD=2737&PAG=461&dept_id=576361&rfi=6. 
  24. ^ Margaret Gibbons (2007-09-24). "Dems want Asher money returned". Pottstown Mercury. http://www.timesherald.com/WebApp/appmanager/JRC/Daily?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_article&r21.pgpath=%2FNTH%2FHome&r21.content=%2FNTH%2FHome%2FTopStoryList_Story_697080. 
  25. ^ Jacob Fenton (2007-11-07). "Montco Republicans are winners". The Intelligencer. http://www.phillyburbs.com/pb-dyn/news/113-11072007-1436703.html. 

External links

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 Jim Matthews and Joe Hoeffel

2008 – Present
Succeeded by
Incumbent







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