Ashley Welch, the first female District Attorney for the 30th Judicial District, is seeking a second term — and is so far unopposed for the seat.
(Editor’s Note: Readers should be cautioned that several of the descriptions of scalping and related practices presented in this column are graphic.)
When I was a boy, incidents of scalping by Native Americans were a staple in the old-time movies about the “Wild West.” And there is no doubt whatsoever that the western tribes utilized that practice. But what about the Cherokee, Creek, Catawba and other southeastern tribes — to what extent was scalping a part of their warfare and ritual?
Court-appointed lawyers are the crux of the U.S justice system because it is their duty to ensure every U.S. citizen is granted their constitutional right to a fair trial, but many lawyers in Western North Carolina are concerned a new pilot program implemented by the state could threaten that right.
Macon is one of six counties across the state that is being included in a pilot program in which court-appointed lawyers are compensated using a flat-fee schedule instead of an hourly rate. According to data from the Indigent Defense Office of North Carolina, indigent defense costs increased 168 percent between 1989 and 1999 while caseloads increased by 90 percent. Capital defense costs rose 338 percent during the same time period.
It could be just a matter of months before District Attorney Ashley Welch decides whether to press charges in a year-old case of alleged embezzlement at the Macon County Board of Elections, but the investigation still has legs on the federal level.
After just a couple of weeks, Ashley Welch is quickly learning what it means to be the District Attorney of the 30th Judicial District.
It means juggling court schedules, managing a large staff and traveling between the seven most western counties, which was to be expected. But it has also meant de-activating her personal Facebook page, changing her cell phone number, always being ready to have her picture taken and getting used to her long-time colleagues now referring to her as boss, Mrs. Welch and even Madame DA.
Two candidates are competing for the job of top legal prosecutor in the seven western counties.
The seat came up for grabs when District Attorney Mike Bonfoey announced his retirement after 11 years in the role. Two assistant prosecutors who work under Bonfoey are vying for the job.
The race for top prosecutor over the seven counties between assistant district attorneys Jim Moore and Ashley Welch has grown increasingly heated as it heads into the homestretch.
The latest development: a twist on the gender stereotypes that typically saddle male and female candidates.
A Tennessee man in a wheelchair accused of helping bury a dead body in a barrel has emerged as an unusual focal point in the hotly contested race for district attorney in the seven western counties.
To be clear, Stevie Franklin wasn’t in a wheelchair at the time of the alleged body burying. His spinal injury came later, after he tumbled off a porch roof in a fight.
Jim Moore and Ashley Welch have been on the same team for years, working side-by-side in the district attorney’s office to put criminals behind bars, seek justice for victims and keep society safe in the seven western counties.