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Cutting Edge Innovations in the Buncombe County Criminal Justice System and the Practical Impact on Your Legal Practice CLE

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Date(s) - 04/10/2019
12:45 pm - 2:00 pm

Hilton Garden Inn


Buncombe County is at the forefront among North Carolina jurisdictions in implementing major criminal justice reforms.  These reforms led to the selection of Buncombe to be a recipient of the prestigious $1.75 million Safety and Justice Challenge grant through the McArthur foundation.  Learn more about these reforms and how to use them in your legal practice.

Timeline Agenda:

12:45-12:55 Introduction, the Justice Resource Center, overview of the SJC grant, and goals of the reforms made possible by the grant

12:55-1:15 Overview of the various cutting-edge reforms with short segments on each of the following:

  • Juvenile Misdemeanor Diversion Program
  • Adult Misdemeanor Diversion Program
  • Felony Drug Diversion Program through Sunrise Recovery
  • Amnesty Days and Mass Dismissal Program
  • Expunction Clinics and JRC resources to help the public with collateral consequences of conviction

1:15 – 1:20 Break

 1:20 – 1:50

  • DA Website and Attorney Services Page
  • Buncombe County Treatment Courts Overview
  • New Officer Misconduct MOU prepared by the District Attorney and supported by local law enforcement
  • Potential new reform forthcoming:  LEAD (Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion)


Todd M. Williams, District Attorney
Todd Williams is a North Carolina native. Born in Winston-Salem, he attended UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating in 1992 with a BA in English. Todd then taught English as a Second Language and adult basic skills to textile workers, immigrants, and the homeless. That experience led Todd to pursue a career in social justice through public service law. While attending Northeastern University Law School, Todd was preparing specialize in labor law and serve workers as his clients. An internship in the law firm of a renowned civil rights attorney turned Todd instead toward criminal justice law.

Todd worked for nearly 15 years as a public defender and as a capital defender. Todd represented indigent defendants of all ages at every level in our justice system — from misdemeanors to murder. By 2014, per the NC Innocence Inquiry Commission, five young working-class African American men had been convicted on bad, undisclosed evidence, and had served years in prison for crimes they did not commit. The integrity of the justice system was at an ebb and Todd wanted to restore it. In 2014, a full two years before a wave of reform-minded prosecutors were elected nationwide in 2016, Todd ran against and defeated a 24-year incumbent. Todd also defeated another candidate, and Todd won re-election in 2018.

As DA, Todd has resolved heinous crimes while concurrently working to reverse questionable past convictions including convictions of the young men who were exonerated (see above) and to remove two men from NC’s death row. Todd was instrumental in creating wraparound services for victims through the Child Advocacy Center and the Family Justice Center, and services for offenders including the Justice Resource Center, the Adult Drug, and Juvenile Misdemeanor Diversion Programs, Veterans’ Treatment Court, expunction clinics and amnesty days, all focused on offering pathways for non-violent offenders to achieve employability and recovery without the stigma of a conviction. Todd recommended investigation of County Manager Wanda Greene and called for an end to self-investigation of potential criminal behavior by law enforcement agencies. Todd has made it easier for the public to access to the District Attorney’s Office through the use of technology, specifically a new website ( and new online portals. Todd is a NC State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Law. 

Rodney G. Hasty, Chief Assistant District Attorney
Rodney Hasty attended North Carolina State University and graduated cum laude with honors in 1991 with a degree in Political Science with a Criminal Justice concentration. He then obtained his Juris Doctor at the Wake Forest University School of Law in 1995.

Rodney joined the Buncombe County District Attorney’s office in 1995 and worked as an Assistant District Attorney until 2009. While there, he tried over 160 jury trials, including capital murder, adult and child sex offenses, armed robberies, and habitual felons. One of the cases he tried, State v. Terry Alvin Hyatt, was a capital double murder that was featured on Dateline NBC, A&E’s Cold Case Files, and Investigative Reports.

Rodney officially joined the firm of Long, Parker, Warren, Anderson & Payne, P.A. on January 1, 2010 and practiced in the areas of state and federal criminal defense and general civil litigation. In August of 2014 Rodney completed the requirements and passed the exam to become Board Certified in State and Federal Criminal Law by the North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization.

In late 2014, the newly elected District Attorney, Todd M. Williams, offered the possibility for Rodney to return to the Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office to serve as the Chief Assistant District Attorney at the commencement of his term on January 1st, 2015. Rodney accepted the offer and currently serves in that capacity.

Register for this one-hour CLE by clicking here.