James D. Culp is a former paratrooper, Infantry Sergeant, a combat veteran and veteran trial lawyer. Mr. Culp has continuously represented and defended military service members around the globe since 2000. Repeatedly declining all prosecution assignments while serving in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, Mr. Culp became the first military attorney to serve six consecutive years with the U.S. Army Trial Defense Service as a Military Defense Counsel and then Senior Military Defense Counsel. Over the last 15 years, Mr. Culp has represented more American service members charged with war crimes than any other attorney in the United States.
Mr. Culp is a patriot and an advocate of patriots. His passion for representing the men and women who defend our nation is only rivaled by his desire to prevent and correct injustice in the military. Mr. Culp strongly believes that he serves his military clients and his country best by holding military law enforcement (CID, OSI, NCIS), military prosecutors, and military commanders to the highest legal standards provided for by the U.S. Constitution and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. From 2000 until the present day, 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.
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 paratrooper (4th Battalion, 325 Airborne Infantry Regiment), 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 degrees in 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. 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 clients in the most high-profile cases stemming from the prolonged conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Notably, Mr. Culp also represented Sergeant 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 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 16 years have two amazing 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 Austin, Texas where James is an active member of his neighborhood and his community.
At 47 years old, Mr. Culp remains a warm-hearted warrior. Whether litigating a complex court martial case, climbing a mountain, running a marathon, or competing in an Ironman Triathlon, Mr. Culp thrives on doing hard things, helping people on hard times, and hardly forgetting the second chances he has been afforded in his life. He loves children and animals, and they love him back. He hates injustice, bullies, and self-righteous people.