NASHVILLE , TN (WSMV) - An email and a letter, obtained by News4 Investigates, show district attorney Glenn Funk is frustrated by what he says are multiple cases of night court commissioners not approving warrants requested by police officers in order to secure blood samples for DUIs.
The email followed reporting by News4 Investigates in which we revealed a police officer’s affidavit, in which he requested a blood sample for a suspected drunk driver, only to have a night court commissioner deny the warrant.
That officer, veteran DUI officer Bradley Nave, wrote in the affidavit that night court commissioner Timothy Lee told him that first time DUI offenses aren’t serious enough to have blood drawn.
A veteran metro police DUI officer wrote in an affidavit that a night court commissioner does not feel that first-time DUI offenses are serious enough crimes to require those arrested to be forced to submit blood samples.
In the email written on April 20, district attorney Glenn Funk wrote to presiding Judge Sam Coleman, who oversees night court commissioners, stating that there have been multiple instances where night court commissioners found probable cause, but declined to sign search warrants for blood draws in DUI cases.
Funk cites the importance of that evidence, writing that DUI is a crime where evidence dissipates quickly.
Funk then requests that commissioners be trained to sign warrants where probable cause has been determined, and establish a protocol where officers can apply to a general sessions judge for a blood test in a DUI case.
But in a response letter on April 29, Coleman denies those requests, writing that the magistrates are well versed in the case law, and that it is up to their discretion in each case.
He also denies the protocol suggestion.
A spokesman for Coleman said he was not available for an interview, and a spokesman for Funk said his email speaks for itself.