Gerry Spence Bio, Age, Net Worth, Wife, Education, Cases, Books

By | May 29, 2021

Gerry Spence Biography

Gerry Spence an American semi-retired trial lawyer and member of the American Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame. He is know to have never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney. Spence has not lost a civil case as of 1969.

Gerry Spence Age

Gerry was born on January 8, 1929, in Laramie, Wyoming.

Gerry Spence Career

Spence started off his career in Riverton, Wyoming and later became a successful defense attorney for the insurance industry. After years, Spence said he “saw the light” and became committed to representing people instead of corporations, insurance companies, banks, or “big business”.

He earned attention for the Karen Silkwood case. Karen Silkwood was a chemical technician at the Kerr-McGee plutonium-production plant, where she became an activist and vocal critic of plant safety what would now be known as a whistleblower. November 13, 1974, Silkwood died in a one-car crash under suspicious circumstances after reportedly gathering evidence for her union.

He represented Silkwood’s father and children, who charged that Kerr-McGee was responsible for exposing Silkwood to dangerous levels of radiation. He won a $10.5 million verdict for the family. The year 1984, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the family’s right to sue under state law for punitive damages from a federally regulated industry.

Silkwood’s case achieved international fame and was the subject of many books, magazines and newspaper articles, and a major motion picture.
Upon finish of the Silkwood case, Spence tried a number of high-profile cases. He has not lost a civil case since 1969 and has never lost a criminal case with a trial by jury.

Spence has had several of his more prominent civil verdicts overturned on appeal and lost a 1985 manslaughter case in a bench trial in Newport, Oregon in December 1985, later prevailing on appeal. He was appointed a special prosecutor in the case against notorious murderer Mark Hopkinson in Wyoming in 1979.

He successfully secured four murder convictions and a death sentence against Hopkinson, who was executed in 1992. He successfully defended white separatist Randy Weaver on murder, assault, conspiracy and gun charges in the Ruby Ridge, Idaho, federal standoff case, by successfully impugning the conduct of the FBI and its crime lab.

He never called a witness for the defense. Spence relied only on contradictions and holes in the prosecution’s story. He later wrote that he rejected Weaver’s racist beliefs, but took the case because he believed Weaver had been entrapped into committing a crime and furthermore that federal agents had behaved unconscionably in shooting Weaver’s wife and children.

Spence also successfully defended Ed Cantrell in the Rock Springs, Wyoming, murder case and he won the acquittal of former Filipino First Lady Imelda Marcos in New York City on federal racketeering charges. He also defended Earth First! founder David Foreman, who in 1990 had been charged with conspiracy for an alleged plot to sabotage a water-pumping station.

June 2, 2008, Spence obtained an acquittal of Detroit lawyer Geoffrey Fieger, who was charged with making unlawful campaign contributions. Prior to returning a not-guilty verdict, the federal court jury deliberated 18 hours over four days. Acquittal kept Spence’s record of never losing a criminal case intact, including the Michael Jones homicide trial in 1985.

During civil litigation, Spence won a $52 million verdict against McDonald’s Corporation on behalf of a small, family-owned ice cream company. Medical malpractice verdict of over $4 million established a new standard for nursing care in Utah. Year 1992 Spence earned $33.5 million verdicts for emotional and punitive damages for his quadriplegic client after a major insurance company refused to pay on the $50,000 policy.

Gerry Spence Net Worth

Spence has a net worth of $20 million US dollars.

Gerry Spence Mock trial: United States v. Oswald

In the year 1986, Spence was on the defended side of Lee Harvey Oswald, the deceased assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, against well-known prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi in a 21-hour televised unscripted mock trial sponsored by London Weekend Television in the United Kingdom.

The mock trial involved an actual U.S. judge, a jury of U.S. citizens, the introduction of hundreds of evidence exhibits and many actual witnesses to events surrounding and including the assassination.That jury returned a guilty verdict.

Expressing admiration for his adversary’s prosecutorial skill, Spence remarked, “No other lawyer in America could have done what Vince did in this case.” The “docu-trial” and his preparation for it inspired Bugliosi’s 1600-page book examining the details of the Kennedy assassination and various related conspiracy theories, entitled Reclaiming History, winner of the 2008 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.

For several times in the book Bugliosi specifically cites his respect for Spence’s abilities as a defense attorney as his impetus for digging more deeply into various aspects of the case than he perhaps would have otherwise.

Gerry Spence Books

  • Gunning for Justice – My Life and Trials (Doubleday 1982) ISBN 9780385177030
  • Of Murder and Madness: A True Story of Insanity and the Law (Doubleday 1983) ISBN 978-0385188012
  • Trial by Fire: The True Story of a Woman’s Ordeal at the Hands of the Law (William Morrow 1986) ISBN 9780688060756
  • With Justice for None: Destroying an American Myth (Times Books 1989) ISBN 9780140133257
  • From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America (St. Martin’s Press 1993) ISBN 978-0312143428
  • How to Argue & Win Every Time: At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday (St. Martin’s Press 1995) ISBN 0-312-14477-6
  • The Making of a Country Lawyer (St. Martin’s Press 1996) ISBN 978-0312146733
  • O.J.: The Last Word (St. Martin’s Press 1997) ISBN 978-0312180096
  • Give Me Liberty: Freeing Ourselves in the Twenty-First Century (St. Martin’s Press 1998) ISBN 0312245637
  • A Boy’s Summer: Fathers and Sons Together (St. Martin’s Press June 1, 2000) ISBN 978-0312202828
  • Gerry Spence’s Wyoming: The Landscape (St. Martin’s Press October 19, 2000) ISBN 978-0312207762
  • Half Moon and Empty Stars (Scribner, 2001) ISBN 0-7432-0276-7
  • Seven Simple Steps to Personal Freedom: An Owner’s Manual for Life (St. Martin’s Griffin November 1, 2002) ISBN 978-0312303112
  • The Smoking Gun: Day by Day Through a Shocking Murder Trial (Scribner 2003) ISBN 978-0743246965
  • Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail—Every Place, Every Time (St. Martin’s Press 2006) ISBN 0-312-36067-3
  • Bloodthirsty Bitches and Pious Pimps of Power: The Rise and Risks of the New Conservative Hate Culture (St. Martin’s Press 2006) ISBN 978-0312361532
  • The Lost Frontier: Images and Narrative (Gibbs Smith October 1, 2013) ISBN 978-1423632900
  • Police State: How America’s Cops Get Away with Murder (St. Martin’s Press Sept 8, 2015) ISBN 978-1250073457
  • Court of Lies (Forge Books Feb 19, 2019) ISBN 978-1-250-18348-4

Gerry Spence Education

Spence joinedand later graduated from the University of Wyoming Law School in 1952 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in May 1990.

Gerry Spence Wife

Gerry has been married two times. his second wife is called Imaging Spence. They spend most of their time in their homes in Jackson, Wyoming and Santa Barbara, California.


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Otieno is is an experienced writer with the skills for his unparalleled storytelling and insight. Born and raised in Kakamega, Kenya, Otieno developed a passion for writing from an early age.

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