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 Blaylock

Born July 7, 1933​
Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas, USA​
Died September 15, 2011
(aged 78)​
Little Rock, Pulaski County
Resting place Cremated
Political party Republican nominee for Arkansas Secretary of State, 1968​
Spouse(s) Elsie Sue Davis​
Children Anthony George "Tony" Davis​

Kristy Davis​
Clayton Taylor Davis
Three grandchildren

Clarence and Estelle Ginnings Davis​

Residence Hot Springs, Garland County, Arkansas ​

Alma mater Arkansas High School (Texarkana)

Henderson State University
William H. Bowen School of Law at the
University of Arkansas in Little Rock

Occupation Attorney; Author

Major in Arkansas Army National Guard


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

​(2) Conservative columnist Christopher Ruddy once termed Davis "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 Eastern District of Arkansas.[2] The conservative columnist Christopher Ruddy once described Davis as "Arkansas’ version of Eliot Ness,"[3] a reference to the ABC television series, The Untouchables with Robert Stack in the starring role.​


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

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] State circuit court Judge Henry M. Britt worked feverishly to keep gambling from recurring after the crackdown.

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 of New York, Thomas E. Dewey. The Hot Springs story was rated No. 1 by the Associated Press for the year 1967. Davis' book describes the police raids that he 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, California, 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

In 1968, Davis, was the Republican nominee for Arkansas Secretary of State, but he was defeated by the incumbent Democrat Kelly Bryant of Hope in 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 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 iin Garland County, which encompasses Hot Springs, where he had recently moved against the illegal gambling.[9]

In December 1969, U.S. President Richard M. 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 Blaylock of Perry County, the unsuccessful Republican rgubernatorial nominee in 1972 against Dale Bumpers.[10] Ford replaced Davis in an attempt to appease veteran Democratic U.S. Senator John 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 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. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Lynn Arthur Davis obit. Retrieved on March 29, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 About the Author: Lynn Davis. Retrieved on December 24, 2009; no longer on-line.
  3. Christopher Ruddy (October 27, 1998). Arkansas’ Murderous Ways. Retrieved on August 13, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Arkansas State Police Project: Lynn A. Davis, August 18, 2003. Retrieved on December 26, 2009; no longer on-line..
  5. 5.0 5.1 They Said It Couln’t Be Done. Retrieved on December 24, 2009.
  6. 1967-Hot Springs, AR. Retrieved on December 24, 2009.
  7. The New York Times, January 9 and 28, 1968.
  8. Ward, John L. (1978). The Arkansas Rockefeller. Louisiana State University Press, 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 on December 24, 2009.
  11. The Arkansas Outlook" (Republican Party newsletter), February and March 1975.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Michael Isikoff and Ruth Marcus (December 21, 1993). Clinton Tried to Derail Troopers' Sex Allegations. Washington Post. Retrieved on December 27, 2009.