By Clint Parker
Weaverville – A local man has filed a grievance with the North Carolina State Bar claiming that he was denied “due process” by Buncombe County District Attorney Todd Williams.
In a letter to the state bar obtained by the Tribune, James Ferry, who owns the Mountain View Mobile Home Park in the Weaverville area, claims Williams denied him due process in a case involving legal matters against former tenants at his mobile home park.
He starts his grievance letter, “There is already enough corruption in Buncombe County.” Ferry then goes on to state, “I have enclosed three letters that have been sent to Mr. Todd M. Williams, Buncombe County District Attorney (starting 11/7/2018) that have gone unanswered.” He goes on to state, “For Mr. Williams to totally ignore questions regarding a criminal case in his county is unacceptable. To know that a legal resident was denied due process is criminal.”
Ferry then states that his case was dismissed.“ After sitting through three days of hearings where cases were delayed or continued without nearly a thought, my criminal case was dismissed with the DA’s staff being fully aware that I had never been informed of the court date and that there was an outstanding civil court ruling that had continued to be ignored.
He then asked several questions about Williams’ office handling of his case:
- Why was I not contacted regarding the hearing?
- Who was responsible for contacting the various parties?
- Why was this case not postponed knowing full well that the plaintiff was not notified of the hearing?
- Were the defendants in attendance? If they were there, who notified them?
- Why was one of the defendant’s names mysteriously dropped from the hearing?
He closes the grievance letter with “Obviously, something is very wrong and you, like myself, should have many questions when something like this happens. Buncombe County has been in the national news for corruption and does not need any more publicity.”
In a letter of response back to Ferry from the state bar, the bar acknowledges receipt of the grievance and states as part of a review, “the bar may refer the grievance to a local grievance committee. If this happens, you will be notified in writing.”
The Tribune contacted Williams via email to get a response to Ferry’s claim. Williams responded, “In cases such as this, which involve damage to real and personal property, this office routinely refers these matters to the mediation center for dispute resolution. When the referral is made, the victim in the case is given a written referral to mediation which also includes a return court date to appear if the case is not resolved at the mediation.”
Williams then directly addressed Ferry’s case saying, “In this case, Mr. Ferry was given a written referral that indicates the return date was to be 10/25/18. He was present when the referral was made and the new date was announced in open court before a judge. Finally, the mediation was conducted but did not reach a resolution. At the mediation Mr. Ferry was again given the 10/25 court date to appear by mediators. Court records indicate that Mr. Ferry did not appear on 10/25 and the case was dismissed due to lack of a prosecuting witness and evidence to support the charge. Given that the victim was given notice of the court date on multiple occasions I feel that my office handled this matter in accord with usual and customary practices.”
As for the grievance filed with the state bar, Williams said, “I have not received correspondence from the State Bar in regard [to] Mr. Ferry’s grievance. I will not make public comment on that matter unless directed to do so by the State Bar.”
Asked about William’s response, Ferry disputed William’s depiction of events concerning his case. “That is totally untrue. I was never given a date. What I have to say to that DA is not printable. Why didn’t he respond with that to me? He thought that it would just go away! Wrong…”