Glenn Funk, Davidson County DA

By Ashley Benkarski

NASHVILLE, TN — District Attorney General Glenn Funk will be defending his seat in the upcoming Democratic primaries.

Funk, who’s held the seat since 2014, has two challengers in the primary — U.S. Attorney Sara Beth Myers and former Assistant DA P. Danielle Nellis. 

He has faced criticism due to striking a plea deal with former police officer Andrew Delke, who shot and killed Daniel Hambrick, a young Black man, in 2018.

Delke shot Hambrick in the back. It was never proven that Hambrick discharged his weapon.

Funk’s challengers have criticized that decision, namely, they say, because Funk did not notify Hambrick’s family of the plea deal.

Funk said he wanted to publicly confront the notion of qualified immunity; Delke is the first police officer to serve a jail sentence for shooting a person while on duty.

If re-elected, Funk said he plans to expand on his vision for restorative justice, including bail reform and reducing incarceration rates for non-violent crimes.

Funk said he believes incarceration “should be primarily reserved for violent offenders,” a decision that, in practice, has led to a decrease of locally incarcerated inmates from 3,151 per day (2013) to 1,535 per day (2021). 

Further, Funk said, lowering the amount of inmates incarcerated each day translates to a daily incarceration savings of $155,000 and an annual savings of more than $50 million for Metro and Davidson County taxpayers.

Diversity in the DA’s Office

Tennessee’s District Attorney offices have been notoriously lacking in diversity, and Funk joins his challengers in their calls for inclusion, he said. He pointed to an 800 percent increase in diversity among Assistant DAs since he took office and said that 10 percent of his staff are fluent in Spanish.

Reducing Incarceration Rates

• Funk has created specialized teams of attorneys and investigators to focus on crimes against children, elder and vulnerable adult abuse and domestic violence prosecutions with a victim-centered motivation, he said.

• The Steering Clear initiative is aimed at diverting and dismissing charges of driving on a revoked license, leading to the incarceration rate for this offense decreasing from 18,000 inmate days each year to less than 30. The program also helped Nashvillians get their licenses reinstated, removing the threat of losing a job or being unable to perform other essential aspects of their lives.

• Funk has ended the prosecution of those possessing less than a half-ounce of marijuana, stating those charges “do little to promote public health, and even less to promote public safety.” The incarceration rate for marijuana charges since 2014 has dropped from 5,148 to 8 in 2021.

• He’s also ended the prosecution of cases as Drug Free School Zone Enhancement violations, noting the charges are grossly excessive and are disproportionately applied to nonwhite offenders. Further, Funk said these charges are a major driver of statewide mass incarceration as they increase sentences of low level, nonviolent offenders to the same level of second-degree murder.

Programs and Partnerships

• Early Intervention Meetings have increased victim court appearances from 15 percent to 51 percent with an 81 percent attendance rate for victims who received those services. Further, Funk said, increased victim attendance leads to more offenders being held accountable.

• To support victims of human trafficking through the Cherished Hearts court and the Grace Empowered Program, Funk partners with End Slavery TN, Magdalene House, Thistle Farms, NaSHEville, Metro Office of Family Safety, Rescue One Global and Epic Girl.

• Funk partners with Judge Melissa Blackburn to provide rehabilitative probation to individuals with misdemeanors that can’t be diverted from the judicial system as well as offering a court-administered program to assist veterans experiencing challenges as a result of their circumstances. 

• Funk also partners with Judge Gale Robinson to provide free rehabilitative services under court supervision to people with recurring drug or alcohol offenses. 

• A 2-year partnership with Juvenile Court Judge Sheila Calloway has led to zero recidivism for juveniles participating in the victim-centered, restorative program to heal victims and hold offenders accountable. 

• Funk works with Judge Rachel Bell’s Creating Avenues for Restoration and Empowerment (C.A.R.E.) Diversionary Court to reduce recidivism and keep people out of the criminal justice system altogether.

Bail and Probation Reform

• Funk has ended pretrial detention for lower-level, non-violent felonies and all misdemeanors, with the exception of domestic violence, DUI (third offense), and people with multiple pending charges, he said.

• Funk has streamlined the probation process of Nashville cases so a sentence of supervised probation will last a maximum of four years, his platform states. 

Mental Health 

• While not every case can be diverted from incarceration, Funk said he works with Sheriff Daron Hall to get arrested individuals with mental health issues into Metro’s Behavioral Care Center. A mental health facility run by Sheriff Hall and supervised by the Mental Health Co-Op, the BCC allows those who complete the program have charges dismissed and are discharged with a 30-day supply of prescribed medication and follow-up counseling. 

“I’m not in the business of prosecuting poor people,” Funk said of his policies. 

Early voting begins April 13 and ends April 28.

The Democratic Primary is May 3.

You can find voting information at