Lynn A. Davis

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Lynn Arthur Davis
United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Arkansas
In office
1970 – December 1974
Preceded by Alfred P. Henderson
Succeeded by Len E. Blaylock
Personal details
Born (1933-07-07)July 7, 1933
Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas, USA
Died September 15, 2011(2011-09-15) (aged 78)
Little Rock, Pulaski County
Political party Republican nominee for Arkansas Secretary of State, 1968
Spouse(s) Elsie Sue Davis
  • Anthony George "Tony" Davis
  • Kristy Davis
  • Clayton Taylor Davis
  • Three grandchildren
Parents Clarence and Estelle Ginnings Davis
Residence Hot Springs
Garland County, Arkansas, USA
Alma mater
Occupation Attorney; Author
Religion Baptist
Military service
Service/branch Arkansas Army National Guard
Rank Major

(1) Though he was never elected to public office, Davis in 1967 managed in 128 days of service as the head of the Arkansas state police to clear Hot Springs of illegal gambling.

(2) Conservative columnist Christopher Ruddy once termed Davis as "Arkansas' version of Eliot Ness."

Lynn Arthur Davis (July 7, 1933 – September 15, 2011)[1] was an attorney in Little Rock, Arkansas, who lectured and penned nonfiction crime thrillers based on his past experiences in law enforcement. He was a former agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, short-term director of the Arkansas State Police, and U.S. marshal for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas.[2] The conservative columnist Christopher Ruddy once described Davis as "Arkansas’ version of Eliot Ness,"[3] a reference to the Prohibition agent who fought organized crime in Chicago during the 1930s and was portrayed in an ABC television series The Untouchables by the late Robert Stack.

After his graduation from Arkansas High School in his native Texarkana in Miller County in southwestern Arkansas, Davis attended Henderson State University in Arkadelphia in south Arkansas. Three children were born to the marriage of Lynn and Elsie Sue Davis (born 1931): Anthony George "Tony" Davis, Kristy Davis, and Clayton Taylor Davis.[4] In 1975, when he was forty-two, Davis obtained his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Law School. He practiced law for nearly three decades until his retirement in 2008.[1] Davis served as a second lieutenant and then a major in the Arkansas Army National Guard.[1]

Arkansas state police[edit]

Shortly after Winthrop Rockefeller took office as the first Republican governor of Arkansas since Reconstruction, he appointed Davis to head the state police. Davis was assigned to destroy illegal casino gambling] in Hot Springs, sometimes called the "City of Vapors" because of its public mineral baths and also the name of a popular nightclub. Davis' account of those events highlights his book They Said It Couldn't Be Done.[5]

In earlier years, Hot Springs had fallen under the influence of such mobsters as Al Capone, Frank Costello, and Charles "Lucky" Luciano, who was arrested in New York City along with the Hot Springs chief of detectives on charges of ninety counts of prostitution brought by District Attorney and later Governor Thomas E. Dewey. The Hot Springs story was rated No. 1 by Associated Press for the year 1967. Davis' book describes the police raids that Davis conducted and the seizure of slot machines and other gambling paraphernalia. The raids were not conducted only in Hot Springs but in some eight other communities to show a random search pattern. The story is also depicted in the Gangster Museum, located on Central Avenue in Hot Springs.[5]

Early in 1967, Davis was working in the FBI office in Los Angeles when he requested a transfer to Little Rock because of his mother's declining health. He had been with the bureau for nearly seven years at the time and was just shy of his 34th birthday. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover implied that he would reassign Davis to Arkansas. Meanwhile, Davis was approached by a spokesman for Winthrop Rockefeller about the state police position. He readily accepted but held the job for only 128 days and was never paid for his services.[4]

At the end of his police tenure, Davis spent a few days in jail in Little Rock for refusal to divulge the identity of an informant.[6] Davis' short tenure was a result of his having lived outside Arkansas prior to his appointment. The Arkansas Supreme Court declared him ineligible for the position because he did not meet the ten-year residency requirement. Arkansas’ Democratic lawmakers refused to change the residency rule as a way of defying the Republican governor.[7][8]

Political matters[edit]

In 1968, Davis, was the Republican nominee for Arkansas Secretary of State, but he was defeated by the incumbent Democrat Kelly Bryant of Hope, the seat of Hempstead County in southwestern Arkansas and the birthplace of U.S. President Bill Clinton. Davis polled 265,510 votes (45.3 percent) to Bryant's 320,203 (54.7 percent). Davis' tabulation was the best any Republican ever procured against the popular Bryant. Rockefeller received 322,782 votes (52.4 percent) against the Democrat Marion H. Crank (1915–1994) of Foreman in Little River County, a state representative and a long-time supporter of former Governor Orval Faubus. Rockefeller hence ran some 57,000 votes ahead of Davis, who led in thirteen of the state's seventy-five counties, mostly in the more Republican northwestern quadrant but also in usually Democratic Pulaski (Little Rock) and Jefferson (Pine Bluff) counties. Davis polled at least 40 percent in Garland County, which encompasses Hot Springs, where he had recently moved against the illegal gambling.[9]

In December 1969, U.S. President Richard Nixon named Davis U.S. Marshal for the Eastern District based in Little Rock. Davis held the position until December 1974, when President Gerald Ford, moved to replace him with Len E. Blaylock of Perry County, the unsuccessful Republican gubernatorial nominee in 1972.[10] Ford replaced Davis in an attempt to please veteran Democratic U.S. Senator John Little McClellan, who regarded Davis as too partisan for the position. Davis technically resigned after McClellan announced that he would not support him for renomination as marshal.[11]

In 1993, Davis represented Roger Perry and Larry Patterson, two of the former Arkansas state troopers who claimed that they and other officers had helped President Bill Clinton meet women, booked hotel rooms for liaisons, and brought a woman into the Arkansas Governor's Mansion after Clinton was elected president.[12] Perry and Patterson said that they were interested in writing a book about their time with the Clintons and had retained lawyer Cliff Jackson, a long-time Clinton nemesis. Davis also represented the troopers. He was quoted by the Washington Post: "The issue was not his [Clinton] sexual proclivities. It was the abuse of power – the abuse of office that concerned them [troopers] and concerned me."[12]

Davis also gave lectures on crime. He was the founding director of the Arkansas Crime Commission, since renamed the Arkansas Crime Information Center. The organization provides information technology services to the law enforcement and criminal justice agencies within Arkansas.[2]

Davis died in Little Rock at the age of seventy-eight. He was cremated.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Lynn Arthur Davis obit". Retrieved March 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "About the Author: Lynn Davis". Retrieved December 24, 2009. 
  3. ^ "Arkansas' Murderous Ways". Retrieved December 24, 2009. 
  4. ^ a b "Arkansas State Police Project: Lynn A. Davis, August 18, 2003" (PDF). Retrieved December 26, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b "They Said It Couln't Be Done". Retrieved December 24, 2009. 
  6. ^ "1967-Hot Springs, AR". Retrieved December 24, 2009. 
  7. ^ The New York Times, January 9, 28, 1968[full citation needed]
  8. ^ Ward, John L. (1978). The Arkansas Rockefeller. Louisiana State University Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 978-0-8071-4328-5. 
  9. ^ State of Arkansas, Secretary of State, Election Returns, 1964, 1968, 1970, and 1972
  10. ^ "U.S. Marshals for the Eastern District of Arkansas". Retrieved December 24, 2009. 
  11. ^ Arkansas Outlook, Republican Party newsletter, February and March 1975
  12. ^ a b Michael Isikoff and Ruth Marcus (December 21, 1993). "Clinton Tried to Derail Troopers' Sex Allegations". Washington Post. p. 1. Retrieved December 27, 2009. 
Preceded by
Alfred P. Henderson
United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Arkansas

Lynn Arthur Davis

Succeeded by
Len E. Blaylock