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College of Arts and Sciences|Diamond Jubilee -- 75th Anniversary

Gerald L. Spence

Bachelor of Science - 1951 - English

JD - 1952

Born, raised and educated in Wyoming, "country lawyer" Gerry Spence has achieved national recognition for his courtroom victories. After receiving his UW law degree, Spence worked as a prosecutor. He was a leading insurance defense attorney in the intermountain region.

Spence, who has not lost a jury trial since 1969, first gained national attention by winning a $10,500,000 verdict against Kerr-McGee in the Karen Silkwood case on her children's behalf. He furthered his reputation with a successful $26,535,000 verdict against Penthouse for Miss Wyoming, his defense of Ed Cantrell in a famous Rock Springs, Wyoming, murder case, a $52,000,000 breach of oral contract verdict against fast food chain McDonald's on behalf of a small, bankrupt, family-owned ice cream company, and a $4,000,000 medical malpractice verdict which established a new nursing care standard in Utah. In 1990, he won acquittal for former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos on RICO charges after a 3 1/2-month trial in New York City. In 1993, Spence successfully defended Randy Weaver on murder, assault, conspiracy, and gun charges in the well-publicized Idaho federal standoff case. He has written several books published by major U.S. publishing houses. They include: Gunning for Justice, his autobiography; Of Murder and Madness, a true story of insanity and the law; Trial by Fire, the story of the Penthouse case; and With Justice for None, detailing his views on the American justice system's failure. His latest book is From Freedom to Slavery: The Rebirth of Tyranny in America, published in 1993. Spence has lectured at law schools and conducted seminars for legal organizations around the country. He practices in Jackson Hole with the firm of Spence, Moriarity, and Schuster.

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Diamond Jubilee Outstanding Alumnus

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