District Attorney candidate Todd Williams. Photo from his campaign website.
Local defense attorney Todd Williams will challenge longtime Buncombe County District Attorney Ron Moore in the May 6 Democratic primary.
“The Office of District Attorney should be renowned for its fairness and integrity in pursuit of justice. In seeking justice, the office must safeguard the rights and reputations of the innocent,” Williams said in an official announcement of his candidacy. “To regain this reputation and trust, we need new leadership that will demonstrate the highest degree of integrity and professionalism. I offer to provide that leadership.”
In the statement on his campaign website, Williams criticizes Moore, citing the district attorney’s refusal to release audits of missing evidence (something a number of local newspapers, including Xpress, sued his office for unsuccessfully) and the 2011 overturning of two 2000 murder convictions after an investigation by the N.C. Innocence Commission.
“These events have tarnished the public perception of the openness of the Office of District Attorney,” Williams said in his statement. “That perception harms our criminal justice system.
“The most pressing need in our criminal justice system is the need for new leadership in the office of district attorney,” the statement continues. “We need to rebuild public trust, increase consistency, and increase professionalism. I am ready to step up and deliver that new leadership.”
Williams has 15 years’ experience as a defense attorney, including serving as a public defender for nine years locally. He filed in Raleigh (a requirement for District Attorney candidates) earlier this morning.
As of late last week, the race for one of the most powerful local offices was still unclear, as no candidates had filed. But last Friday Moore, who has occupied the office for 24 years filed to run for a seventh term. He made no announcement and did not return earlier calls from Xpress seeking comment on running for reelection.
Last week, Buncombe County Republican Party Chair Henry Mitchell told Xpress he wasn’t aware of any GOP contenders for the District Attorney’s job, though that might change, and the party is instead focusing on the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners and state General Assembly races.