Published February 2008
by Sherri L. Renner
As a judge, it is important to treat the people who come before you with respect. Judge Frank Castor’s greatest strength as a judge is to do just that. As a judge in the County Civil Division, he interacts with pro se litigants as well as attorneys, and understands the importance of listening to their concerns and issues. Judge Castor graduated from Wake Forest University in 1992, with a major in political science. After working for a year for an insurance agency in Daytona Beach, he went on to attend law school at the Sheppard Broad Law Center at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.
Upon graduating from Nova law in 1996, Judge Castor went to work for the State Attorney’s Office in Palm Beach County, where he worked until his election to the bench in 2006. As is typical with the State Attorney’s Office, Judge Castor worked in several different divisions. He most enjoyed the last division in which he worked, Economic Crimes and Crimes Against the Elderly, eventually becoming Deputy Chief of that division. He especially enjoyed working with elderly people, and assisting them through the criminal justice system. Judge Castor believes that working with the elderly population, as well as handling a variety of economic fraud cases, proved to be excellent preparation for his judgeship.
Judge Castor has come from solid legal stock. He counts seven family members who work as attorneys, and his father, Don Castor, worked as a county court judge in Hillsborough County (Tampa) for twenty years. Judge Frank Castor has enjoyed hearing compliments about his father from attorneys who practice statewide, even though his father retired from the bench eleven years ago.
Public service runs in the family. Judge Castor’s grandfather, after whom he is named, traveled the state of Florida as a narcotics officer in the 1950s making drug busts, and later became chief of the State Bureau of Narcotics. His mother has held many high profile public service positions, and currently is the executive director of the Patel Center for Global Solutions at the University of South Florida.
But Judge Castor is most proud of the work of his wife, Rita, who has dedicated her career to helping the developmentally disabled. Rita Castor currently is the District Behavior Analyst at the Florida Department of Developmental Disabilities. Judge Castor and his wife met in Daytona Beach in 1992, and married while he was in law school in 1995. They have two daughters, Kerry (age 10) and Katie (age 6). Much of their life outside of work revolves around their daughters and their activities.
Judge Castor and his family escape every summer to Blowing Rock, North Carolina. They enjoy hiking in the mountains, and vacationing at the beach. Judge Castor admitted that he and his family have visited Disney World more times that normal people should.
In adjudicating the cases that come before him, Judge Castor naturally draws on his years of public service. To many people (including some lawyers), disputes involving small sums of money or spats with one’s landlord do not warrant the same measure of dignity and attention as other types of cases. However, Judge Castor knows that the cases that may seem insignificant to the casual observer are anything but insignificant to the people who come before him. He not only treats litigants with respect, but understands that each case is a “big” case to those involved.
How do his litigants regard him? Judge Castor recently presided over a lawsuit brought by a retired gentleman against his homeowners’ association. The dispute involved damage to his golf cart. In describing the subject golf cart to Judge Castor, the gentleman explained, “You know, it was the kind that Jackie Gleason used to ride around in.” This gentleman clearly had so much respect for Judge Castor, that he ascribed to him wisdom far beyond the judge’s years.
Prior to running for a county court judgeship, Judge Castor did his homework. He spoke with several county judges about their experiences, all of which wholeheartedly recommended the vocation. He also recalled how much his father enjoyed his job being a judge, including his father=s common refrain, “Let me tell you about an interesting case I had today ….” Judge Castor has no regrets about seeking a judgeship. He appreciates the law, and the variety of people and cases that come before him.