Tags: Joyce Watkins
Nashville District Attorney General Glenn Funk has been appointed special prosecutor in the 2021 shooting death of Alvin Motley Jr., in Memphis, Tenn.
Motley was shot and killed on Aug. 7 at the Kroger Fuel Center, 6600 Poplar Ave., near the East Memphis and Germantown line. Prominent national civil rights attorney Ben Crump is representing the Motley family.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich declared that her office was recusing itself from the case because of an employee’s possible connection to the shooting.
After 27 years in prison, and more than 30 years after her ordeal began, Joyce Watkins was exonerated for a crime that she and her late boyfriend did not commit.
Watkins and the late Charlie Dunn were convicted in 1988 for the rape and murder of a 4 year old girl. A review of the case by the Conviction Review Unit in the Office of the District Attorney for Nashville and the Tennessee Innocence Project found faulty testimony from the then state medical examiner.
Their review led to the exoneration of both Ms. Watkins and Mr. Dunn.
Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk received national attention from People magazine for his stance against the so-called ‘hate bill’ against the transgender community passed in 2021.
Days after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed a bill in 2021 requiring businesses and government facilities to display signs notifying the public if they let transgender people use their multi-person bathrooms or changing rooms, Nashville’s top prosecutor stated he won’t enforce the law.
“I believe every person is welcome and valued in Nashville. Enforcement of transphobic or homophobic laws is contrary to those values,” District Attorney General Glenn Funk said. “My office will not promote hate.”
The bill in question is aimed at transgender people and carries criminal penalties for businesses that don’t comply. Tennessee is the first state in the nation to enact such a law. It’s one of five anti-transgender measures approved by the legislature and signed into law by Governor Lee during the 2021 session.
Nashville District Attorney Glenn Funk’s efforts to keep kids safe during the COVID -19 pandemic was highlighted nationally in Huffpost.com in 2021.
General Funk stated he would not prosecute teachers or school officials who enforce mask mandates during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The move was in defiance of a 2021 order from Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, who stated that students can ‘opt-out’ of wearing masks, even in local school districts like Nashville enforce such measures.
DA Funk offered his assurance to school board member Emily Masters who noted that Tennessee law includes a Class A misdemeanor — punishable by up to a year in jail — for “any person or representative thereof violating any order, rule or regulation” under an emergency declaration, like the one in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funk responded, “I will not prosecute school officials or teachers for keeping children safe.”
Nashville Mayor John Cooper was equally upset over the Governor’s executive order, stating that it “undermines a long-held trust that local governments know what’s best for their communities.”