DA-TBI Memorandum of Understanding for Police Involved Shootings

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 16, 2017

(Nashville, TN) District Attorney Glenn Funk today instituted a policy to request the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) to investigate all Nashville cases where officer related use of force results in death. General Funk, along with TBI Director Mark Gwyn, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the DA’s Office and the TBI, effective immediately, which calls for the TBI to investigate all officer-involved use of force deaths. Other officer-involved shootings will be reviewed on a case by case basis and may be referred to the TBI.

In conjunction with today’s announcement, General Funk submitted paperwork for the TBI to take over the investigation into the incident involving Officer Lippert and Jocques Clemmons on February 10, 2017. General Funk emphasized his confidence that the police department investigation to date has been handled expertly and appropriately.

“For Nashville to remain safe, law enforcement must maintain public trust from all segments of the community,” General Funk said. “Historically, the Metro Nashville Police Department has investigated their own officer involved shootings. Our police department is well trained and professional. Metro Nashville Police Department investigators have great integrity. The investigations performed by the Metro Nashville Police Department are expedient and transparent. However, best practices from around the country require that these investigations must also be independent. Only independent investigations foster the community confidence required for public safety.”

“Certainly, we face some challenges, as we now begin our work six days after this incident,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “Due diligence, however, requires us to start at the beginning in this-and every-investigation. Still, we remain confident in our ability to investigate this case with the integrity, openness, and professionalism it demands.”

The 2015 report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended mandatory “external and independent criminal investigations in cases of police use of force result in death.

 

Guilty verdict in child rape trial

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 13, 2017

(Nashville, TN)—A Davidson County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Nashville man who raped and sexually abused two young girls who were placed in his care for several years. Rodney Robinson, 48, was found guilty Thursday on the following charges:

  • Aggravated Sexual Battery –5 counts
  • Rape of a Child–4 counts
  • Attempted Rape of a Child–1 count
  • Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure–2 counts
  • Rape–2 counts

The victims’ lived with the defendant and his wife for eight years. Assistant District Attorney Megan King said the abuse happened from the time the girls were 10 until they were removed from the home at age 14. “They were finally removed from the home because the defendant whipped one of the victims with a belt and those marks were seen by her friend at school who reported it to a teacher,” King said.  “The girls thought this behavior was normal – it is what dads do – so they didn’t disclose until one of the victims was given an examination at Vanderbilt and the nurse asked if anyone ever touched her “down there.” It was only then, after seeing the nurse’s reaction, did she realize what he was doing was not normal father behavior.” Robinson faces a minimum of 25 years in prison. He is not eligible for probation.  A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 29, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.

Guilty Verdict-First Degree Murder

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 3, 2017

(Nashville, TN)— A Davidson County jury has returned guilty verdicts against two men charged with killing a Tennessee State University student in 2015. Defendants William Lawrence and Tyjuan Wallace were both found guilty of First Degree Felony Murder for the shooting death of Eric Jackson, Jr. Testimony during the three-day trial showed that the defendants approached Jackson as he and a friend sat in his car near Hadley Park before attending the African Street Festival. Assistant District Attorney Doug Thurman said Jackson, 21, was shot in the head as he tried to drive away from the defendants after an attempted robbery. “These defendants showed no consideration for the life of a young man who was committed to his studies at TSU and had a full life ahead of him. We are pleased that the jury has helped bring justice for the family and get these dangerous men off the streets of Nashville,” Thurman said.

Metro Police Detectives Andrew Davis and Chad Gish left no stone unturned as they discovered incriminating text messages that allowed for the conviction. 

Judge Cheryl Blackburn sentenced both defendants to life in prison.

 

 

Guilty Verdict in Aggravated Rape Trial

(Nashville, TN)—A Davidson County jury has returned guilty verdicts against a Nashville man on two counts of Aggravated Rape. Larry Hopkins, 56, was convicted on Tuesday of raping a woman at knifepoint after soliciting her for sex. The victim admitted she was working as a prostitute but when she tried to leave the defendant’s vehicle, he punched her in the face, held a knife to her throat, and raped her repeatedly. Deputy District Attorney Amy Hunter asked jurors to see the victim for who she is, not what she had done in the past. “When little girls grow up, they dream of being princesses and wearing tiaras. They don’t dream of walking the streets of south Nashville and selling themselves to men like Larry Hopkins. The defendant was in control of this situation and control is what rape is all about,” said Hunter.

Larry Hopkins faces 25 to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced on February 16.

Most women who have worked in prostitution report having been beaten and raped at some point while on the streets. For information on escaping prostitution and trafficking visit www.thistlefarms.org or www.endslaverytn.org. January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

 

Teen Essay Contest

What are the social and economic impacts of Domestic Abuse? That is the subject of this year’s Teen Essay Contest sponsored by the Nashville Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The contest is open to all current Davidson County High School students. Winners will receive cash prizes and will be recognized at the Meet Us at the Bridge event on October 1st! Visit the link below for details.

EssayContest_2016

Assistant District Attorney sworn in

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(Nashville, TN)–District Attorney Glenn Funk has announced the appointment of Ardath Griffin to the position of Assistant District Attorney in the Domestic Violence Division. A 2015 graduate of Belmont University School of Law, Griffin was sworn in on April 19, 2016 by Criminal Court Judge Steve Dozier. She previously served as a staff attorney and intern in the Juvenile Division of the DA’s Office.

“General Griffin brings an energy and advocacy to the DA’s Office that will greatly assist victims and ensure perpetrators of domestic violence are held accountable,” District Attorney Funk said.

Griffin also adds to the diversity in the office which has been a priority for District Attorney Funk who believes that true diversity leads to true justice. Funk has appointed the largest number of Latino and African-American attorneys in office history, as well as the appointments of minorities to other key leadership positions.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve in the District Attorney’s Office and I look forward to contributing to the efforts already being made toward improving the lives of Davidson County residents,” Griffin said.

Griffin is a native of Ohio and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a concentration in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati.

Ardath Griffin sworn in

First Latina DA in Davidson County Criminal Court

Lody 2

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 18, 2016

(Nashville, TN) District Attorney Glenn Funk has made an historic appointment in naming the first Latino Assistant District Attorney to serve in Davidson County Criminal Court. General Lody Limbird has been assigned to Division VI Criminal Court where she handles prosecution of domestic violence cases with a special interest in aggravated assault by strangulation. A native of Colombia, South America, General Limbird is a graduate of Nashville School of Law and Middle Tennessee State University. “It is an honor and a great responsibility to be named the first Latina ADA appointed to Criminal Court,” General Limbird said. “In order to understand the needs of the people we serve, it is important for public servants to also reflect the diversity of the community.”

General Funk has been committed to increasing diversity in the DA’s Office by appointing the largest number of Latino and African-American attorneys in office history, as well as the appointments of minorities to other key leadership positions. “If our office can reflect the diversity of our community, then members of the community will trust that they will be treated fairly. True diversity leads to true justice,” Funk said.

General Limbird is one of eleven lawyers representing Nashville’s rich diversity. Prior to joining the DA’s Office, Limbird worked as a legal secretary for the Tennessee Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and as an assistant at Room in the Inn at the Campus for Human Development.First Latino Criminal Court appointment

Victims’ Rights Week ceremony

(Nashville, TN)-In honor and memory of Nashvillians whose lives have been impacted by crime, the Davidson County Crime Victims’ Rights Week ceremony will be held on April 10, 2016 at Centennial Park. The event is an opportunity for victims and their families to show unity and empowerment. The theme of this year’s observance is, Serving Victims Building Trust Restoring Hope. Families who have lost loved ones to homicide will be able to place a photo on the homicide memory board which will be on display at the downtown library April 8-17, 2016.

 WHAT:         Crime Victims’ Right Week

WHEN:          Sunday, April 10, 2016

                       2:00pm

WHERE:       Centennial Park (covered pavilion close to Park Plaza)

                       2500 West End Avenue

                       Nashville, TN 37203

National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is April 10-16, 2016. The Nashville ceremony will include testimony from survivors who will share their stories with others impacted by crime. The event is sponsored by several Nashville nonprofit and government agencies.

*Ceremony will close with a balloon release at the Children’s Memorial Garden across from the Parthenon. Balloons will be provided.

Crime Victims’ Rights Week

 

Child rape sentence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 22, 2016

(Nashville, TN)-A man convicted of raping a six-year-old Nashville girl has been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison for a crime that underscored the importance of parents communicating with their children. Brandon Clymer, 31, was sentenced on February 17, 2016 to twenty-six (26) years in prison after a Davidson County jury found him guilty of Rape of a Child.  Assistant District Attorney Chad Butler said the victim reported the crime to her mother as soon as it happened and was able to give a detailed description, which assisted in the prosecution.  “Because the little girl’s mother talked to her at an early age about her body, inappropriate touching and abuse, she knew that the defendant’s actions were wrong and should be reported,” Butler said.  As part of his sentence, Clymer will be on community supervision for life and will be listed on the Tennessee Sex Offender Registry.

“This case serves as a reminder to parents to talk to their children about sexual abuse and assure them it is okay to report it, Butler said.” According to the Nashville Sexual Assault Center, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys is sexually abused before his or her 18th birthday and most victims know their perpetrator. Clymer had been considered a family friend.

For information on preventing child sexual abuse visit: www.sacenter.org/home  or call the 24 hour crisis and support line at 1-800-879-1999.

Child rape sentencing-Clymer

Deputy District Attorney

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

February 17, 2016

Thurman, Tom 1010-27-1415 Hunter, Amy 1010-27-1544 Moore, Roger 1010-27-1515

(Nashville, TN)- District Attorney Glenn Funk has announced the appointments of two assistants to top leadership positions within the DA’s Office. Assistant District Attorneys Roger Moore and Amy Hunter have been named Deputy District Attorneys. Both Moore and Hunter are respected lawyers with histories of prosecuting complex criminal cases in Davidson County.

General Roger Moore first joined the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office in July, 1990.  He has served as senior assistant district attorney and team leader of Criminal Court Division V since 1996.  General Moore earned his Juris Doctor in 1977 at the University of Tennessee College of Law.  A Nashville native, General Moore’s legal career began as an Instructor of Law and staff attorney at the University of Tennessee College of Law Legal Clinic. He was then in private practice in Knoxville and Jackson prior to serving as an assistant district attorney in Jackson, Tennessee from 1982 to 1990.  He has been involved in a number of major criminal trials in Nashville including State vs. Paul Dennis Reid, State vs. Jason Burdick, State vs. Corey Radley and most recently as one of the prosecutors in the trial of Brandon Vandenburg and Cory Batey. “In sharing the vision of General Glenn Funk, my focus as Deputy DA will be to ensure victim-centered prosecution while recognizing the impact of mental health and poverty issues on the criminal justice system,” General Moore said.

General Amy Hunter joined the Davidson County District Attorney’s Office in 2002 and currently serves as team leader of Criminal Court Division II. General Hunter is a graduate of Baylor University and earned a Juris Doctor from South Texas College of Law in 1997.  Prior to joining the DA’s Office, General Hunter served in the McLennan County, Texas District Attorney’s Office from 1997 to 2002.  A native of Houston, Texas, General Hunter has led more than 100 jury trials, which involved offenses ranging from 1st degree murder to theft.  She was one of the lead prosecutor in State vs. Deon Cartmell, State vs. Jason Bobo, and the theft case of State vs. Perry March. “Helping victims navigate a difficult process and seek closure on their cases is an important component of leadership in this office. I am honored and inspired by this opportunity,” General Hunter said.

Current Deputy District Attorney Tom Thurman will continue in his position. General Thurman, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, announced plans last year to retire from the DA’s Office sometime in 2016. Deputy Thurman has played a pivotal role in every major prosecution in Nashville over the last thirty years.  “Tom Thurman’s name is synonymous with justice and victims’ rights,” District Attorney Glenn Funk said. “Tom is a brilliant trial attorney and trusted adviser.  Nashville is a better, safer community thanks to his efforts. I expect General Thurman will continue to contribute to the office for a long time.”

These are the first Deputy DA appointments since 1989 when Tom Thurman and Cheryl Blackburn were named to the post by then District Attorney Torry Johnson. Cheryl Blackburn was appointed to the bench in 1996 and has served as judge in Criminal Court Division III since that time. General Hunter becomes only the second woman to serve in this position.