Facing Possible 30-Year Sentence, Man Accused Of Growing Pot Takes Case To
National Radio.

The radio show host reminded him that prison wouldn't be as much fun as
sitting home with some weed and women.

Radio shock jock Howard Stern's verdict: A Roanoke man charged with growing
marijuana will likely become "the Mandela of pot."

Stern's New York-based, nationally syndicated radio program is host to
actors, musicians, porn stars, comedians and sideshow freaks of all
descriptions. On Thursday morning, Jay Lynch took his case to the
self-anointed king of all media.

In a nearly 15-minute interview, Stern and sidekick Robin Quivers tried to
persuade Lynch to offer a plea in the case, which otherwise could cost him
30 years in prison.

"You'll be the Mandela of pot," Stern said, in a joking reference to Nelson
Mandela, imprisoned for 27 years in apartheid-era South Africa.

But Lynch, as he has in newspaper articles, classified ads and an aborted
jury trial, stood by his claims that he puffs the herb to ease the pain of
a bad back - and that police violated his Fourth Amendment rights, which
protect him from unreasonable searches and seizures.

Roanoke circuit judges have already rejected the Fourth Amendment claim, as
well as his attempt to get a jury to disregard the state's marijuana laws.

Lynch says he will not waver.

"Get ready for prison rape," Stern said. "What do you want from me?"

Lynch got the show's attention with a letter he sent in late January. He
wrote that an ex-girlfriend had sold him out to police, who raided his
house in September 1999.

Police said they confiscated more than 100 plants, worth about $180,000 on
the street. He admits to having 30, including what he told Stern were "six
or eight really good ones."

A grand jury indicted him in October 1999 on a charge of manufacturing or
possessing marijuana with the intent to manufacture it for others' use.
That charge doesn't require proof that Lynch sold his dope.

A conviction carries a maximum penalty of 30 years, but his former
attorney, Assistant Public Defender Jay Finch, has said a plea bargain
could lower that to six months in jail.

By the time the Stern show's staff contacted Lynch, he was in jail on a
contempt of court charge. Lynch, representing himself, crossed the line
Feb. 8, Judge Robert P. Doherty told him.

He repeatedly broke trial rules about how to object to evidence. He wedged
cross-examination, even his own testimony, into the prosecution's
questioning of a Roanoke police detective.

Doherty sentenced him to 10 days in jail for contempt, and declared a
mistrial. He faces a new trial April 2 and 3.

The Stern crew played the recorded sound of a gurgling bong as Lynch said
he wound up with the "hanging judge." Stern recommended Lynch adopt some
humility, plead guilty and ask the judge for a break.

Lynch replied that entering a plea would be "crazy."

"All right, make yourself a test case," Quivers said.

"This is what the judge is hearing - a wise guy," Stern added later,
reminding him that prison wouldn't be as much fun as sitting home with some
weed and women.

Despite the grilling, Lynch said Friday that "it was a big thrill." He
wrote Stern a thank-you letter, asking for more help with the case.

"There have been several articles in the local paper but I need to let the
whole world know about this travesty and I believe you are the only man who
could help with that," Lynch wrote in the letter, in which he included some
lottery tickets. "I hope the lottery tickets that I sent were winners," he
wrote, adding that if they aren't, he'll send more.

He signed the letter "C.J.

Newshawk: http://www.cannabisnews.com/
Pubdate: Sat, 10 Mar 2001
Source: Roanoke Times (VA)
Copyright: 2001 Roanoke Times
Contact: karent@roanoke.com
Address: 201 W. Campbell Ave., Roanoke, Va. 24010
Website: http://www.roanoke.com/roatimes/
Author: Tad Dickens, The Roanoke Times