Resume of Attorney Frank J. Spinner
Mr. Spinner retired from the United States Air Force having served in military defense positions such as Chief Circuit Defense Counsel (the chief military defense attorney over all military defense attorneys in the geographic region) and two tours with the Appellate Defense Division, one tour as Chief Appellate Defense Counsel.
After his retirement, Mr. Spinner continued in his passion for defending military members by establishing his own law practice in which he exclusively represents military members facing courts-martial, appeals, and all manner of military adverse actions. Mr. Spinner’s practice has grown to become one of the most recognized and respected practices in the field.
CIVILIAN LEGAL PRACTICE – MILITARY DEFENSE
In his civilian legal practice, Mr. Spinner has defended military members stationed around the globe, to include those serving in combat operations overseas. Mr. Spinner has defended some of the most highly publicized cases in military justice. Some of those notable cases include:
United States v. Capt James Wang – USAF Captain, AWACS crewmember, charged with dereliction of duty related to an incident in which two Army Blackhawk helicopters were shot down by two USAF F-15 pilots over the Northern Iraq “No Fly” Zone in 1994. Twenty-six people died. Acquitted of all charges. Captain Wang’s case was presented on Primetime.
United States v. SSG Delmar Simpson – Army Drill Sergeant charged with raping eleven trainees over twenty times (not counting over 100 other specifications of sexual misconduct), under a theory of constructive force, at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. He will soon be released from confinement. Simpson’s case was presented on Dateline.
United States v. Lt Kelly Flinn – USAF Lieutenant, B-52 pilot, charged with adultery, fraternization, false statements and disobeying an order at Minot AFB, North Dakota. Lt Flinn was granted a general (under honorable conditions) discharge in lieu of trial by court-martial. Lt Flinn’s case was presented on 60 Minutes.
United States v. Capt Richard Ashby – USMC Captain, EA-6B pilot, charged with involuntary manslaughter after striking a gondola cable during low-level training in Northern Italy. Twenty people died. Acquitted of all charges. Captain Ashby’s case was presented on 60 Minutes.
United States v. MG David Hale – Retired Army Major General charged with Article 133 offenses related to improper consensual relationships with spouses and former spouses of subordinate and former subordinate officers. Received only a fine and forfeiture of pay as punishment pursuant to plea agreement. Major General Hale’s case was presented on 20/20.
United States v. Cadet Douglas Meester – First Air Force Academy cadet charged with raping a female cadet after the sexual assault scandal surfaced at the Air Force Academy in 2003. Rape and forceful sodomy charges dropped after extended litigation based on unlawful command influence. Meester was required to pay a $2,000 fine and given an honorable discharge. Cadet Meester’s case was presented on 20/20.
United States v. SPC Sabrina Harman – One of seven soldiers implicated in alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison. Photos of abuse resulted in expressions of international outrage. Received lightest punishment adjudged in the related Abu Ghraib cases. Her conviction is currently under appeal. Harman’s case was presented on 20/20.
United States v. CWO Lewis Welshofer – Army interrogator charged with murdering an Iraqi Major General by suffocating him in a sleeping bag. Acquitted of murder, but convicted of negligent homicide. Reprimanded, fined $6,000 and restricted to duty location for 60 days. He is now retired and serving in the federal civil service. Welshofer’s case was presented on 60 Minutes.
United States v. SFC Trey Corrales – Army Platoon Leader charged with premeditated murder of a captured Iraqi insurgent, obstruction of justice and other related offenses. Acquitted of all charges, he was subsequently promoted and remains on active duty. His case received extensive coverage in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, the Honolulu Advertiser and the San Antonio Express-News.
United States v. SrA Andrew Witt – Air Force Senior Airman charged with murdering two married Air Force enlisted members and attempting to murder a third enlisted member. Referred as a capital case, received national media coverage.
United States v. MSG Tim Hennis – Army retired Master Sergeant charged with murdering the wife and two children of an Air Force officer. Referred as a capital case, received national media coverage.
United States v. SPC Jeremy Morlock – One of five Army Stryker Brigade soldiers accused of crimes against Afghan civilians. SPC Morlock charged with premeditated murder and pled guilty to murder of three Afghan civilians. Received national media coverage.
In addition to his military defense trial work, Mr. Spinner has argued and won a number of leading cases in military law before the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and other military appellate courts, including the first case in American Jurisprudence to recognize a Fourth Amendment right to privacy in electronic mail.
MEDIA APPEARANCES & PRESENTATIONS
In defending these and other serious military cases, Mr. Spinner has made multiple guest appearances on 60 Minutes (interview by Mike Wallace), 20/20, Dateline, Nightline, the Today Show, Good Morning America, Meet the Press, CNN Crossfire, Oprah, Larry King Live and NPR. His legal work was featured on the History Channel in a program entitled “Real JAGs.” Many of his cases have received front page coverage in the New York Times, the Washington Post and USA Today. Mr. Spinner’s client, Kelly Flinn, appeared on the cover of Time Magazine. Other military cases have been featured in New Yorker magazine. Mr. Spinner is regularly invited to speak at defense attorney and legal conferences addressing military defense and military justice topics. Mr. Spinner also served on the “Commission on the 50th Anniversary of the UCMJ,” otherwise known as “The Cox Commission.”
Mr. Spinner is currently admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States, the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces and all the military Courts of Criminal Appeals. He is a member in good standing of the State Bar of Texas and is admitted to practice before the highest courts of that state.