Online chat with Gordon Lynn

August 20, 2006

The following is an edited transcripted of an Aug. 15 online chat with Gordon Lynn, a candidate for Washington County state's attorney.

The next chat will be on Tuesday, Aug. 22, at 1 p.m. The guest will be Jerry Joyce, who also is seeking the state's attorney's post. Questions can be e-mailed in advance to

Ruth:If you should be elected, what are your plans to improve on the state's sttorney's office as a whole?

Gordon Lynn: I think that one of the main goals that I will have as the state's attorney is to open the lines of communication with various agencies such as the police department, parole and probation, the correctional officers, the public defenders office and the bar association. These are essential to the effective operation of the state's attorney's office.

At present, there seems to be a lack of communication, especially between the public defender's office and the state's attorney's office, as well as the local police agencies and the state's attorneys office. Hopefully, by opening those lines of communication, the system will work more efficiently and effectively to the benefit of the citizens of Washington County.


Blake: You, as well as your fellow Republican challenger, Gregory Bannon, have made statements appearing to criticize incumbent Charles Strong for not seeking the death penalty in murder cases. During the past two years, what murder(s) have occurred in Washington County that, if you had been state's attorney, you would have sought the death penalty and why?

During the last 12 to 16 years, the approximate time you have been an attorney in Hagerstown, what murder(s) have occurred that, again, had you been state's attorney would you have sought the death penalty and why?

Gordon Lynn: First, I have never criticized Mr. Strong regarding his use of the death penalty, or Judge ( M. Kenneth) Long when he was the state's attorney. I'm not quite sure where your information came from. Mr. Bannon was the only one who criticized Mr. Strong's position. In answer to the second part of your question, I believe that the state's attorney's office should have taken a very close look at Steven Barr's case. Mr. Barr laid in wait for the victims in their own home before he murdered one of the victims. This is a case that surely should have had a close look with a view toward the death penalty.

Connie: Being a defense attorney for many years, how do you plan on prosecuting the same people that you have defended?

Gordon Lynn: I would not be able to ethically prosecute someone whom I have represented in the past. I have discussed this same issue with several of the candidates for state's attorney from Frederick County and we have agreed that, should this issue arise, special counsel would be assigned from the different counties to handle that situation.

Jason: I understand that Mr. Lynn sees public servants like the police as his No. 1 priority and I understand his emphasis on prioritizing the work these people do. But shouldn't the public itself be the top priority? Everything I've seen/heard seems to be him giving back his support to the police, etc., because they lent him their nomination.

Please ask him to comment on what his position owes to the general public of Washington County.

Gordon Lynn: The citizens of Washington County are most definitely the No. 1 priority. The law enforcement personnel and other public servants help to achieve the goal of serving Washington County citizens effectively and efficiently. The police are just one of many agencies that the state's attorney must rely on to do his job. A state's attorney must have a good working relationship with law enforcement, correctional officers, parole and probation officers and other public servants. I am aware that the citizens of Washington County are the No. 1 priority and I believe that that is true with regard to the other public servants mentioned above.

Allison: You have identified yourself as a "Special Assistant United States' Attorney" while stationed at Fort Richie many years ago. Isn't it true that your prosecution experience there was limited to traffic violations and minor infractions committed on the Fort's grounds and did not include any jury trials or prosecution of serious felonies?

Could you please tell me how many rapes and murders you were the lead prosecutor on when you were a JAG at Fort Hood, Texas?

Gordon Lynn: It is true that part of the job of a special assistant U.S. attorney was to prosecute cases in magistrate's court. While most of those violations are related to misdemeanors that occur on the grounds of Fort Ritchie by civilians, my tenure as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney did not include jury trials or serious felonies. With regard to "rapes and murders," as a JAG at Fort Hood, Texas, I was involved in several murder cases and other serious felonies as lead counsel.

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