Nashville District Attorney candidates Q&A on Music City key issues

Nashville District Attorney candidates Q&A on Music City key issues

Nashville’s District Attorney candidates agreed to submit written responses to a series of policy questions posed by The Tennessean. 

The three attorneys are vying for an eight-year term as the top Davidson County prosecutor.

Incumbent Glenn Funk has held the seat since 2014. He attended Wake Forrest University and earned a law degree from the University of Mississippi. He began his legal career as a public defender in Memphis until he moved to Nashville in 1986 to work as an assistant district attorney. After more than three years, he went into private practice and spent 25 years as a criminal defense lawyer.

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He lives in Nashville with his wife Lori, with whom he has three children: Mary Landon, Rob and Sam. 

Nashville Davidson County District Attorney Glenn Funk meets with The Tennessean Friday, April 1, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn.

Former local, state and federal prosecutor Sara Beth Myers announced her candidacy in December. The first in her family to graduate college, Myers attended Duke University and Vanderbilt University Law School. Her work at Thistle Farms led to the creation of her own nonprofit, AWAKE, to help children and survivors break cycles of violence and poverty.

She lives in East Nashville with her husband, two kids and “a variety of pets.”

Davidson County District Attorney candidate Sara Beth Myers talks with Dr. Adel ElMessiry after a prayer service at the Islamic Center of Nashville Friday, March 25, 2022 in Nashville, Tenn.

Former prosecutor P. Danielle Nellis has family ties to Nashville stretching back generations. Nellis announced her candidacy in October. She currently works as counsel for Klein Solomon Mills, PLLC., largely focusing on labor and employment issues. She attended Spellman College and Boston University School of Law. She has also worked as a criminal defense attorney and law clerk and adjunct law professor.

She lives in Nashville with her husband, J. Eric Insignares, and young son. 

P. Danielle Nellis, candidate for District Attorney, is photographed in Germantown Friday, April 1, 2022.

Responses are listed by candidate alphabetically. Some have been edited for length. 

What are the top three priorities you hope to accomplish in your time in office, should you be elected?

Funk: My top priority will remain prosecuting violent crime. Our office has won the big cases like the Vanderbilt Rape and Waffle House Mass Shooting cases. We have a 95 percent conviction rate on all violent crimes such as murder, rape, and armed robbery. Domestic violence will also continue to be a top priority. We have a team of 22 professionals working relentlessly to support victims with a program that has been hailed as “profound” by members of the American Prosecutors Association. My second priority will be to continue to reform the criminal justice system in a way that ends mass incarceration by exploring alternatives to jail for non-violent offenses when we can instead help our neighbors who suffer from mental health, addiction and poverty. We have cut the jail population in half over the past eight years and I believe we can do even more to end mass incarceration at the local level for non-violent offenders. Thirdly, a top priority of mine will be to expand the Restorative Justice program that we have been operating now for four years in our Juvenile Court. This program, the first in Tennessee, has shown remarkable results and I want to work with our General Sessions Courts to bring a similar program to the adult system.