The Honorable Patrick C. Lynch
Serving from 2003 to 2010, Patrick C. Lynch is the 72nd person to hold the office of Rhode Island Attorney General since its inception in 1650. Lynch, during his tenure as RI's Attorney General, was the first Attorney General in state history to serve as the President of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). A Special Assistant Attorney General from 1994 to 1999, he prosecuted cases at every level of Rhode Island's criminal justice system and led the State's prosecution of gang-related offenses. Lynch worked for one of Rhode Island's top law firms until the 2002 election, which capped his first campaign for public office.
An emphasis of his two terms as the Attorney General, Lynch had a strong voice in the shaping of legislation aimed at toughening the state's criminal justice system, advancing the rights of victims, and affording additional protections to consumers. Lynch made reducing juvenile crime the centerpiece of his administration, believing that the career criminals of tomorrow start off as the youth offenders of today.
During his tenure, Lynch, who as Attorney General of Rhode Island had primary criminal authority, served from 2003-2011 on the Board of the National District Attorneys Association (NDAA). He also served on the Executive Working Group on Prosecutorial Relations through the Department of Justice from 2004 to 2006. Lynch also served as Chairman of the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) from 2004 to 2006. During Lynch's stewardship of DAGA, the number of democratic attorneys general surged to 31 and fundraising and membership soared.
It was while hosting the National Association of Attorneys General's (NAAG) 2008 Summer Meeting in Rhode Island that Lynch was inducted as President of NAAG. In selecting The Year of the Child as his presidential initiative, built on his work of furthering protections for youth, including increasing safeguards in the area of technology such as those attained by recent agreements with attorneys general and social networking sites, as well as the nation's cable operators.
In response to an increase in the number of crimes committed against senior citizens in Rhode Island, which has one of the nation's highest concentrations of the elderly, Lynch established, in 2005, a specialized Elder Abuse Unit within the Department of Attorney General. The Unit's primary functions are investigating reports of alleged exploitation of seniors and prosecuting crimes involving elderly victims of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
Committed to championing the civil liberties of all Rhode Islanders, Lynch created, with legislative approval, the Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights Advocate in 2005. This specialized unit empowers the Attorney General to be more proactive in protecting the rights of Rhode Islanders from civil rights violations involving race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, and age.
The father of two teenagers, Lynch's greatest emphasis during his tenure was promoting the well being of children. Whether it was healthcare legislation, safety on the Internet, the dangers of alcohol and drugs, bullying or the early onset of the scourge of domestic violence, Lynch was a tireless advocate for children. As Attorney General, Lynch visited at least a school a week - making hundreds of such visits since first taking office in January 2003 - to speak to children about making good choices in their lives. He was also an unwavering advocate for the Rhode Island Judiciary's anti-truancy and anti-drug initiatives, the Truancy and Drug Courts. In 2004, the New England Association of Drug Court Professionals presented him with its President's Award for his "support of drug courts and their graduates." A year later Lynch became a member of the Executive Board of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals.
Lynch's energy and leadership on important legal and social issues has earned him the respect of his peers throughout the nation. Not only did Lynch lead several important amicus filings, he very actively participated and chaired or co-chaired many committees at NAAG including Youth Access to Alcohol, the Criminal Law Committee, and Co-chaired (along with Colorado AG John Suthers) the Task Force on School and Campus Safety in the wake of the murders at Virginia Tech.
Lynch's election marked the first time a Rhode Island Attorney General was chosen to serve in NAAG's top leadership position. In selecting The Year o/the Child as his presidential initiative, Attorney General Lynch built on his work of furthering protections for youth, including increasing safeguards in the area of technology such as those attained by recent agreements with attorneys general and social networking sites, as well as the nation's cable operators.
Lynch took particular pride in fighting to protect the environment in his role as the
Environmental Advocate and in the public utilities process in Rhode Island, the New England region and with his colleagues nationally. Environmental accomplishments include is leadership on local matters from individual rate cases for consumers, a first in the nation settlement with the Department of Navy for its spoliation of RI lands and water bodies. On a national front he was involved in prominent environmental matters before regulatory agencies and every level of our legal system including clean air court cases including coal emissions and car emissions cases against both industries and our Federal government (in the nation s first supreme court case on global warming).
Lynch aggressively took the lead defending his Ocean State's economy and natural resources by leading the fight to defeat efforts to site an LNG facility in Providence and joined with anti-LNG forces in nearby Fall River, Massachusetts, where another facility had been proposed. Stating that safety and security measures are inadequate to protect the public, the infrastructure, and the environment, he continues to advocate for the sovereign rights of states against the unwanted introduction of LNG terminals.
A 1987 graduate of Brown University, Lynch earned his law degree from Suffolk University Law School. While playing professional basketball in Belfast, Northern Ireland also participated in graduate studies at Queen's University School of Law.