NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It's a big job in our growing city: The district attorney. That person makes the final call about what cases get charged in Nashville.
Current D.A. Glenn Funk faces two challengers in next month's Democratic primary.
The three attended a forum at the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church Monday night.
Funk pointed to lower jail rates for non-violent offenders and a drop in jail time for people driving with revoked licenses.
"Criminal justice reform didn't really enter the national consciousness until 2018-20, but we were already doing it in 2014, we were ahead of the curve because we had elected someone with a background as both a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney," Funk said.
But former federal prosecutor Sara Beth Myers said the system is still broken.
"I'm not talking about a band-aid or picking cases for the news, I am talking about real systems change. Doing the first criminal justice audit," Myers said.
Myers has previously criticized Funk for attempting to "grab headlines" for prosecuting former Vanderbilt University Medical Center nurse Radonda Vaught in the death of a patient under her care. A jury convicted Vaught, but Myers says she wouldn't have criminally prosecuted her for what she said was a medical mistake.
Another challenger, former Assistant D.A. Danielle Nellis, took issue with candidates making promises about specific legislation.
"I believe it's dangerous to make promises regarding legislation as a D.A. here in Nashville where we have seen a legislature makes decisions often adverse to our attempts to move forward," Harris said.
Harris said she seeks to understand the stories of the people of North Nashville, many of whom said Monday night they felt overlooked.
"My life has been shaped by being not only a Black person in the South, a woman in the South, but also being a family member of a victim of violent crime," Nellis said. "I carry our stories in a way my opponents don't, Nellis said. "I mean that not to be disrespectful, but my story, and my lived experience is very different."
Click here to read more about Danielle Nellis' campaign.
Click here to read more about Glenn Funk's campaign.
Click here to read more about Sara Beth Myers campaign.
Early voting for the May 3 primary starts next Wednesday.