Williams genuinely concerned about integrity of justice system

I have practiced law in the criminal courts of Western North Carolina for a quarter of a century and, in that time, have worked with more than a few prosecutors. Perhaps I have gained some useful perspective on the qualities of integrity, experience, humility and common sense which make a good prosecutor.

I am writing to support the election of Todd Williams as Buncombe County District Attorney.

In February, Todd Williams made the courageous decision to run for district attorney against a 24-year incumbent. Todd won the May 6 primary election with 67 percent of the vote, ensuring change in this important office. Todd’s opponent chose to sit out the primary election and is now seeking to benefit from the opportunity provided by Todd’s primary victory.

Todd is genuinely concerned about the integrity of the justice system and restoring fairness in Buncombe County. To that end, the exoneration of Kenneth Kagonyera and Robert Wilcoxson by the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission was a centerpiece of his
campaign. Mr. Kagonyera, who spent nearly 10 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, was my client.

Todd is the more experienced of the two candidates. He has practiced criminal law in Western North Carolina since 2001 and has appeared in almost every kind of criminal case brought to court. He is a known quantity in the Buncombe County criminal justice system and has a solid working relationship with all of the principals in that system: judges, other prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement officers, court clerks and – not insignificantly – defendants and victims.

Arguing motions, negotiating pleas, conducting sentencing hearings, trying cases to a jury – these are the everyday stuff of criminal law practice, for both prosecutors and defense attorneys. I have never seen Ben Scales do any of these things in a Buncombe County courtroom or any courtroom. I am told that Mr. Scales has appeared in two felony jury trials in his career. He has never served as an assistant district attorney or prosecutor of any kind.

Nor has he demonstrated a basic level of interest in criminal law by qualifying for appointment as counsel for indigent defendants. His announced agenda regarding marijuana offenses, while reflective of a defensible personal opinion, is at odds with the oath he would take as District Attorney.

I mention humility because that quality is rare among prosecutors – among defense attorneys, as well, it must be said. Todd Williams recognizes the areas in which he lacks experience and has pledged to retain assistant district attorneys who know their jobs and to hire additional staff to complement the talented, hard-working lawyers presently in the District Attorney’s Office. Todd will seek the input of the Sheriff’s Office, the Police Department and other public entities but will feel no need to manage any public agency other than his own.

I urge all lawyers to support the Williams for district attorney campaign and all conscientious Buncombe County voters to join me in voting for Todd Williams again on Nov. 4.

Sean Devereux

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One thought on “Williams genuinely concerned about integrity of justice system

  1. MG Massey

    While I agree with the above gentleman, I also need to ask, where were you all during the horrible actions of Medford and others and Moore when they prosecuted people falsely.Why didn’t any of you file ethics complaints with the state bar? Why did you allow ordinary citizens to be intimidated by Medford and Moore. What will you do about correctly these atrocities? Yes, Todd Williams is an honest man. I feel he will clean it up. However, we all know the powers that be in this county run it for the benefit of the rich and well served. Sclaes was thrown in there to divide the vote..to cull voters away from Williams. DR OLsen Huff and I agree on one thing, the failure to prosecute child sexual abuse in this county is a cancer.The failure to prosecute rape is why this town has a womens shelter but no womens advocacy. I have watched for 20 years as so called Liberals allowed others rights to be abridged. Watched as my daughters life was destroyed. Ironic as ancestrally, we are from here. Treated just as my Cherokee ancestors were, I now understand the curse they laid on ASheville.I have seen it’s effects. YOu can tell much about a civilization by how it treats it’s womens and children. LOve the mountains, have lost all faith and hope in the law and the courts. Another irony as my guardian was an ACLU attorney.. Whether Todd Williams changes the county for the better will be based not so much on what he does , as how many who knew of crimes come forward . The only way it can be a new day in this county is if all things change with the courts. Let’s start by changing ourselves. Removing the prejudice in this town.. might go a long way to making Todd Williams time in office one in which all citizens feel valued finally. IF the hedonistic libertarians who only care for themselves get in office, yes , prosecution of pot may go down.. but so will all respect for justice in the courts.I’ve been told it’s not even safe for me to say this next line..but I really don’t care.I lost my daughter due to RON MOORE and TOdd Williams is the only lawyer who has given me hope in this county . The rest of you sat by and watched crimes committed against innocents and did nothing. NO amount of words can change that.

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