|Patrick C. Lynch|
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|Attorney General of Rhode Island|
|2002 – 2010|
|Bachelor's||Brown University (1987)|
|J.D.||Suffolk University Law School at Boston (1992)|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Political career
- 3 Elections
- 4 Campaign donors
- 5 Personal
- 6 See also
- 7 External links
- 8 References
Shortly after graduating from law school in 1993, Lynch worked as a law clerk for Presiding Superior Court Justice Joseph Rodgers, Jr. The next year, he brought on by the State Attorney General's office, first as a special assistant then being named to the state's Organized Crime United. In 1999, he entered the private sector and joined the law firm of Tillinghast, Licht, Perkins, Smith & Cohen, LLP, where he remained until 2002 when he ran for attorney general.
- Bachelor's degree, Brown University (1987) in economics and political science
- Juris Doctorate degree, Suffolk University Law School at Boston (1992)
Rhode Island Attorney General (2002-2010)
During his tenure as the state's top law enforcer, Lynch advocated for stricter laws regarding drunken-driving and the use of handguns. He also proposed measures that would have linked school attendance rates and teenagers' driving privileges, increase penalties against people who provide alcohol to minors, and require school districts to put in place anti-bullying and school-safety plans. He also called for community prosecution, and paired state prosecutors with police personnel in Providence Police Department's neighborhood precincts with the goal of timely prosecution of drug crimes, robbery, and assault.
The Station nightclub fire
The first of Lynch's responsibilities following his election as state attorney general in November 2002 was to oversee the criminal investigation of the February 20, 2003, Station nightclub fire. The fire at the glam metal and rock n roll themed nightclub located in West Warwick, Rhode Island is considered to be the fourth deadliest nightclub fire in American history, killing 100 people, four of whom died after being admitted to local hospitals; another 230 people were left injured. Pyrotechnic sparks, set off by the tour manager of the night's headline band, Great White, which then ignited flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings around the stage, were cited as the cause of the blaze.
The two owners of the nightclub, Jeffrey A. and Michael A. Derderian, along with Daniel M. Biechele, former road manager of Great White, were charged on December 9, 2003, with 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter. Biechele plead guilty and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison on May 10, 2006; Jeffrey Derderian was ordered to serve a 10-year suspended sentence while his brother, Michael, received a fifteen year term in prison.
Some critics of Lynch's handling of the case argued that he failed to prosecute the one individual many considered to be the guiltiest party in the incident, Denis LaRocque, a West Warwick Fire Inspector who repeatedly inspected the Station nightclub prior to the blaze. The Rhode Island Attorney General argued, "Without malice or bad faith, criminal capability cannot attach to fire marshals." Others believe that LaRocque's failures to "order the abatement of the foam covering the doors, walls and ceilings" in addition to not posting a legal capacity at the nightclub qualified as an indication of bad faith. Though he was asked several questions, Lynch "refused to submit Denis LaRocque as a defendant to the Grand Jury."
Lead paint lawsuit
Lynch also pursued a lawsuit against lead paint manufactures that was initiated by Whitehouse, his predecessor. The initial lawsuit ended in a mistrial while Whitehouse was in office. Lynch won a second lawsuit against Sherwin Williams Co., NL Industries, and Millennium Holdings, LLC., all former lead paint manufacturers. Another company, Atlantic Richfield Co., was acquitted by the jury. The case was closely monitored by other states and municipalities interested in whether former lead paint manufacturers are liable for problems their products caused after they stopped manufacturing it.
DuPont Co. settled out of court in June 2005, agreeing to pay $12 million to the Children's Health Forum. The agency agreed to use the money for lead paint abatement efforts and education campaigns. Lynch was criticized for accepting $4,250 in contributions from DuPont lawyers and lobbyists, and his opponent in the 2006 elections filed a complaint with the Rhode Island Ethics Commission. Lynch denied that the donations were related to the lawsuit, and a lawyer for DuPont who accounted (with his wife) for $2,500 of the donations called the complaint "rubbish."
Lynch was also criticized for the arrangement his office made with the law firm Motley Rice, which prosecuted the case. The firm agreed to cover the costs of the case in return for 16 2/3 percent of whatever damages the company won. Critics charged that this kind of relationship between law firm and government is improper because the law firms stand to benefit from a guilty verdict.
In an analysis of state attorneys general published in July 2010, Lynch was named "The Nation's Fourth Worst Attorney General" by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. Basing their criteria on ethical breaches/selective application of the law, fabricating law, usurping legislative power, and predatory practices, the Rhode Island Attorney General, who at the time of the publication was a gubernatorial candidate, received a letter grade of F in the last three categories; he narrowly missed acquiring the failing mark in the initial grouping, receiving a letter grade of D- instead. The CEI sharply criticized Lynch for empowering "trial lawyers who donated to his campaign to seek hundreds of millions of dollars in contingency fees" for a nuance suit he prosecuted against paint companies, some of whom were eventually dropped from the case after making sizable financial contributions to his campaign.
The Rhode Island State Republican Party filed a complaint against Lynch who they accused of violating the $75 limit on gifts established in the state's ethics code when he accepted a plane ticket from the National Cable and Telecommunications Association to speak at a conference in New Orleans about online child safety. A month later, Rhode Island's Ethics Commission unanimously voted to dismiss the charge.
Lynch announced on May 22, 2009, that he would be campaigning for the Democratic nomination in the 2010 gubernatorial election in Rhode Island, challenging State Treasurer Frank Caprio in the September 14, 2010,primary election. A Quest Research poll conducted in late-February 2009 showed Caprio well ahead of Lynch 30 - 17.4% in the Democratic primary contest. An October 2009 survey conducted by Alpha Research Associates revealed that both Democratic candidates would lose out to former-United States Senator Lincoln Chafee, who is running as an independent candidate, in a head-to-head matchup, though Caprio did have a significant advantage over Lynch.
Since that time, however, Lynch had trailed his main primary opponent, General Treasurer Frank T. Caprio, in both recent polls and fundraising. In particular, he had "been struggling in his competition with the disciplined Caprio for support from the Democratic party base, which includes the activists who make up the Democratic State Committee, which endorsed Caprio over Lynch last month." On Thursday, July 15, 2010, Lynch, after first leaking news to supporters, officially announced that he would be exiting the state gubernatorial race.
On November 7, 2006, Patrick C. Lynch won re-election to the office of Rhode Island Attorney General. He defeated J. William W. Harsch (R) in the general election.
|Rhode Island Attorney General, 2006|
|Democratic||Patrick C. Lynch Incumbent||59.5%||225,824|
|Republican||J. William W. Harsch||40.5%||153,675|
|Election Results Via: Rhode Island Board of Elections|
On November 5, 2002, Patrick C. Lynch won election to the office of Rhode Island Attorney General. He defeated J. William W. Harsch (I) in the general election.
|Rhode Island Attorney General, 2002|
|Democratic||Patrick C. Lynch||61.5%||191,488|
|Independent||J. William W. Harsch||38.5%||119,717|
|Election Results Via: Rhode Island Board of Elections|
|2006 Race for Attorney General - Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by Primary Opponent||N/A|
|Total Raised by Gen. Election Opponent||$278,968|
|Top 5 Contributors|| Rhode Island Democratic Party $26,000 (4.8% of Total)|
| National Education Association Rhode Island $3,550 (0.66%)|
| Rhode Island Laborers Public Employees $2,650 (0.49%)|
| Norman R. Beretta, Sr. $2,200 (0.41%)|
|Rhode Island Carpenters $2,000 (0.37%)|
|Individuals v. Institutions||$457,236 (84.5%)|
|In v. Outside State||$388,561 (71.8%)|
Separated for nearly five years, Lynch and his wife, Christine, "filed for divorce in Rhode Island Family Court" on July 29, 2009, having reached an 'amicable' divorce settlement. The couple has had two children together - Kelsey and Graham.
- President, National Association of Attorneys General (2008-2009)
- Secretary/Board Member, Advent House
- Board Member, Brown Club of Rhode Island
- Board Member, Camp Street Community Ministries
- Past President, Saint Raphael Board
- Attorney General of Rhode Island
- Governor of Rhode Island
- Peter Kilmartin
- Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 2010
- Official Rhode Island Attorney General website
- Patrick Lynch's Twitter account
- Project Vote Smart - Patrick Lynch biography
- Armenian Weekly, "Lynch to serve as Election Monitor in Artsakh," July 18, 2012
- Lynch2010.com 2010 Campaign website
The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine was used to recall this version of the website from May 15, 2010.
- Providence Journal, "Attorney General Patrick Lynch plans to run for governor in 2010" 23 May, 2009
- FOX Providence, "Report: Lynch to exit governor's race" 15 July, 2010
- The Boston Globe, "Lynch quits quest for governor of R.I." 16 July, 2010
- Anchor Rising, "Station Nightclub Fire: How Attorney General Patrick Lynch Shielded the Guiltiest Party" 19 Feb. 2009
- Competitive Enterprise Institute, "Issue Analysis: The Nation’s Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General" 12 July, 2010
- WPRI "RIGOP: AG Lynch broke gift limit rule" 29 Sept. 2009
- WPRI "Ethics complaint against RI AG tossed" 3 Nov. 2009
- Providence Journal, "Poll: Caprio, Lynch have edge in 4-way governor's race" 2 March, 2009
- Providence Journal, "Chafee says poll numbers show a 'competitive' race" 6 Nov. 2009
- The Providence Journal, "Lynch tells supporters he plans to exit race" 15 July, 2010
- Rhode Island Board of Elections - 2006 Primary Election Results
- Rhode Island Board of Elections - 2002 Primary Election Results
- WRNI "Attorney General Patrick Lynch Finalizes Divorce" 29 July, 2009
Sheldon Whitehouse (D)
|Rhode Island Attorney General
| Succeeded by|
Peter Kilmartin (D)