Gunning for Justice My Life and Trials, by Gerry Spence and Anthony Polk (Doubleday, N.Y. 1982)
“When I walk into a courtroom I am only another hunter, in that dark arena where men are the game and the hunter is also the hunted. I stalk the witness on the witness stand, struggle with my adversary, and at some critical moment it becomes a fight to the death.”
Some say Wyoming attorney Gerry Spence is simply the finest trial lawyer in America today. Philosopher, orator, gunfighter, Spence brings a passion and style to American courtrooms gone since the days of Clarence Darrow-in stark contrast to the bland technicians who often represent America’s corporations-whom he refers to as “the gentlemen in gray.” He has fought-and won-some of the most important criminal and civil cases of our time. His clients are the forgotten people of America, “the crippled, the wasted, and the damned,” and he has extracted huge damage awards for them against the multi-national corporations who, Spence says, have become our masters in a new slavery in which we, the people, are the new slaves. His remarkable courtroom victories have sent a clear message to the great American corporations that the people demand the return of their rightful power.
Here is Spence’s life story, the story of the redemption of a one time insurance company lawyer who decided to go “gunning for justice” for the average citizen. It is the autobiography of a man who struggled through a painful and desolate metamorphosis to become the leading spokesman for a new system of law and lawyers for the people.
Gunning For Justice is also a gripping, dramatic tale of a fifteen-month period in Spence’s life when he fought and won four of his most famous cases: The much-publicized Karen Silkwood plutonium-contamination trial against Kerr-McGee Corporation; the sensational murder case of Ed Cantrell, the last of the old gunfighters; the Hopkinson murder case, in which Spence faced the agonizing question of whether the death penalty is justified; and the Jody Bonnie case, where he took on one of America’s largest drug companies for marketing an at-home pregnancy test that left his client-a precocious four-year-old boy-without arms, legs, chin, or a tongue.
Told with the same eloquence and humanity that have marked Spence’s memorable courtroom appearances, Gunning for Justice is a call for a new kind of courtroom warrior and new kind of American justice.