James Culp is a former paratrooper, Infantry Sergeant, a combat veteran and veteran trial lawyer. He has represented more American service members charged with war crimes than any other attorney in the United States. He is also the first military officer to serve six consecutive years with the U.S. Army Trial Defense Service as a Military Defense Counsel and Senior Military Defense Counsel. Over the last 15 years, Mr. Culp has successfully represented thousands of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines throughout the United States, Japan, Korea, Guam, Germany, England, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. His unmatched passion for representing the men and women who defend our nation, coupled with his extensive experience and unwavering commitment will provide you with the strongest defense possible.
Mr. Culp enlisted in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Private in May of 1987. After serving two years in the 82nd Airborne Division as a Parachute Infantryman, he was selected to serve in the still-occupied city of West Berlin, Germany. There, as an Infantry Sergeant and a member of the elite "Berlin Brigade," Mr. Culp personally witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. This was a powerful moment for Mr. Culp: the moment it became clear to him that the rule of law was as powerful as any military. At the conclusion of the Gulf War in 1991, Mr. Culp left the Army to pursue a legal education.
Utilizing educational benefits earned as a Soldier (the GI Montgomery Bill and the Army College Fund), Mr. Culp graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA where he earned a double major in both History and German. He has been inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society as well as the Golden Key National Honor Society.
subsequently graduated from the UC Berkeley School of Law, one of the nation’s most prestigious law schools. Having earned honors in more than half of his law school classes, Mr. Culp was also the recipient of the Berkeley Law School Moot Court Commendation.
Mr. Culp chronicled his unique law school experience at Berkeley in “A Call for Respect,” one of several essays published in the 1999 book titled, “The Diversity Hoax: Law Students Report from Berkeley”.
While later stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska as a U.S. Army trial defense counsel, Mr. Culp shared his love for trial work and advocacy with students from Lathrop High School in Fairbanks, Alaska as a volunteer mock trial instructor, taking his team to the state championships for three consecutive years (Read story).
James Culp and Lance Corporal
Justin Sharrat during the Haditha
murder case Article 32 hearing.
As both a civilian defense counsel and former Senior Military Defense Counsel in Seoul, Korea and at Camp Victory, Baghdad, Mr. Culp has represented U.S. military members in the most high-profile cases stemming from the prolonged conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan (Notable Cases). Indeed, no lawyer in the United States has represented more Soldiers or Marines accused of murder or manlslaughter arrising from combat service in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Mr. Culp thrives on the most complicated and challenging criminal cases. He is a veteran of scores of contested courts-martial where he has successfully represented service-members accused of murder, attempted murder, manslaughter, rape, maiming, indecent assault, forcible sodomy, assault, fraud, larceny, desertion, aiding the enemy, and countless other criminal offenses too numerous to mention.
Notably, Mr. Culp also represented SGT Charles Jenkins, a Soldier who spent nearly 40 years in Communist North Korea after deserting the U.S. Army by walking over the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the winter of 1965. The court-martial of SGT Charles Jenkins is widely regarded as the most renowned trial for the offense of desertion in the history of the United States' military (Read stories).
Mr. Culp has been able to obtain an extraordinary number of acquittals and case dismissals for his clients, and this is especially true for his clients accused of war crimes and sexual assault. In the last decade, of the eight American service-members represented by Mr. Culp who were charged with murder or manslaughter for actions in a combat zone, Mr. Culp was able to secure the complete dismissal or complete withdrawal of charges for half of those clients. Mr. Culp is also renowned for his deft insight into the complexities of military sexual assault cases, both at trial and on appeal. In a single five week period of time, four different Soldiers represented by Mr. Culp in both Korea and Japan, were acquitted of rape in separate and un-related fully contested courts-marital tried before different military juries (Read Stories). He has secured acquittals for other service members charged with sexual assault in the United States and Europe as well. Over the last decade, Mr. Culp has secured the acquittal or dismissal of charges for seven out of every ten service member clients who were charged with sexual assault.
Mr. Culp is a member of the California State Bar and he has been a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars since 1991. He is the recipient of the Expert Infantryman’s Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal (x4), the Army Achievement Medal (x5), the Army of Occupation Medal, the Army Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Iraqi Campaign Medal, the Korean Defense Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal (x2), the NATO Medal, and the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
A native to both Texas and California, Mr. Culp is a devoted husband and father. He and his wife of 15 years have two lovely well-adjusted, strong-willed teenagers. When Mr. Culp is not traveling to the far reaches of the globe to represent his military clients, he and his family reside in Texas where James is an active member of his neighborhood and his community.