District Attorney General
First Judicial District
Tony Clark is the District Attorney for the First Judicial District. Clark was elected to an eight-year term in 2006. A Johnson City native and graduate of Greeneville High School, Clark earned bachelor's degrees in criminal justice and political science from East Tennessee State University and earned his law degree in 1992 from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He served as an assistant DA in the district starting in 1994, and covered cases in all four counties. Clark oversees a staff of 52 that includes 17 attorneys. Clark and his staff cover a wide range of legal and criminal issues throughout the district, which is comprised of Washington, Unicoi, Carter and Johnson Counties.
The DA's office receives state funding through the Tennessee District Attorney Generals Conference, which prepares budgets for the state's 31 judicial district. The conference apportions funds for everything from personnel to computers and supplies.
The First District DA's office supplements its funding with grants. "We apply for every grant, whether it's a state or federal grant," Clark says. He cites a caseload study from six years ago that determined the district was understaffed by six attorneys at its current caseload. Since then, the caseload has grown and the staffing has remained the same.
Some of the grants that help supplement the DA's budget are for drug enforcement, DUI enforcement (from a state Highway Safety grant), and victim advocacy and support.
Clark's office includes 10 attorneys who work cases in Washington County, three in Carter County and one each in Johnson and Unicoi counties. Additionally, there are two attorneys assigned solely to child support enforcement, and they are supported by 14 child support caseworkers. Clark says that team helped bring in nearly $10 million in child support payments last year in the First District.
Clark says an increase in methamphetamine use, and the criminal activity associated with it, is one of the biggest challenges his office faces. The office is reaching out to law enforcement, schools and the community at large to try and battle the problem through a united approach.
To learn more about the fight against meth, visit the MethFreeTN website, sponsored by the Tennessee District Attorney General's Conference, by clicking here