June 7, 2006

AG Patrick Lynch Using Public Staff to Fight a Personal Fine

Carroll Andrew Morse

Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Lynch has been fined twice by Judge Michael A. Silverstein for remarks he has made related to the state's lead paint trial. As Peter B. Lord reports in the Projo, the Judge has been clear that he is fining Patrick Lynch personally, and not the Office of the Attorney General…

Attorney General Patrick C. Lynch, in a highly unusual action, was ordered to pay an additional $10,000 personal fine yesterday for making critical comments about three corporations after a jury found that they created a public nuisance with their lead-based paints.

Judge Michael A. Silverstein imposed the fine yesterday as a result of a second instance in which he found Lynch in contempt of court rules prohibiting lawyers from criticizing each other publicly during the trial.

On the first occasion, Silverstein fined Lynch $5,000, also to be paid with his own funds.

Despite this fact, Lynch has directed staffers in the Attorney General’s office to handle the appeal…
Lynch plans to appeal both fines to the state Supreme Court. His staff argued in hearings that the judge's sanctions violated Lynch's First Amendment rights to free speech.
Bill Harsch, Republican candidate for Attorney General, thinks the public should (in addition to getting a new Attorney General) get back any money used for Lynch’s defense...
I am calling for an immediate halt to Patrick Lynch using taxpayer money and the resources of his office to fund his personal appeals and defense against these sanctions. I am also calling for the State’s Auditor General’s office to perform an outside audit detailing the expenses incurred by taxpayers to date for all time, materials and expenses associated with his appeals and for a full and complete reimbursement to the taxpayers for any expenses they have incurred to date. There is also the question as to whether or not he has violated a state law for using his office inappropriately for his personal defense.

For Patrick Lynch to ignore the judge by repeatedly violating the rules of the court and then to nonchalantly fund his defense with taxpayers money goes far beyond arrogance and speaks to what little respect he has for the public, the judge and the law itself.

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Patrick Lynch + $15,000.00 fine = Worthless Attorney General

(What's with RI and it's worthless politicians named Patrick?)

Posted by: johnb at June 7, 2006 5:32 PM

johnb, the question isn't what's with Patrick. It should be: what's with the RI GOP?

The RI GOP allows primary opponents against its two strongest incumbents, Carcieri and Chafee, but has offered no credible candidates to take on a mentally-ill, drug abusing congressman or an attorney general who gives legal breaks to political cronies (West Warwick) and can't follow the law himself? And it has NO candidate running for general treasurer which manages the state's investments?!?

Talking about a circular firing squad!

It's a democracy, though, and you get what you deserve.

Posted by: Anthony at June 9, 2006 1:53 PM


What’s your beef with Bill Harsch? He’s right on the issues, he’s put together a solid campaign organization, and when he speaks in front of an audience, he’s as engaging as any Republican politician in the state -- Governor and all Senate candidates included.

What more does it take for a candidate to make himself “credible”?

Posted by: Andrew at June 9, 2006 3:59 PM