My Promise: Real Change in the District Attorney’s Office

I will restore the relationships necessary for the efficient administration of justice between the District Attorney’s Office, the courts, and law enforcement, all of which have broken down in various ways over the past four years. I will pursue the real change in the culture and approach to justice of the DA’s Office that many people thought they would see from the current DA.

As your DA, I will bring equity and diversity to this office to more accurately reflect the diversity of our community. I will fight fraud and corruption by working with the community and law enforcement to charge and convict those who criminally defraud the public or abuse public office for personal gain.

End Mass Incarceration

Cash bail for nonviolent crimes is one of the elements of the "guilty until proven wealthy" mindset that will end in Buncombe County when I'm DA. We need to stop clogging our jail with people with a clean record who are held on non-violent charges while they and await trial simply because they can’t afford to pay bail. This unjust system targets our poorest communities. I will work to end cash bail imprisonment for non-violent offenses, automatic imposition of court costs, and other private diversions programs.

Our justice system has failed too many Buncombe County families though wrongful convictions and unjust sentences. I promise to review past cases to right these wrongs, which sow the seeds of discord and distrust in our communities. We owe it to our communities to ensure true justice is served.

I will target the crimes that matter the most and stop prosecuting insufficient and insignificant cases. I will vindicate the rights of the most vulnerable among us, with a particular focus on crimes against women, children, and the elderly.

I will not prosecute any adult for personal use cultivation or possession of cannabis, regardless of weight, nor will I prosecute any patient or her/his caregiver for any offense related to the medical use of cannabis by that patient. People shouldn’t have a permanent criminal record for a small cannabis offense.

Addiction should be treated as a medical problem, not a crime. I will prosecute those who profit from the opioid epidemic, including the drug companies who sell the pills, the doctors who overprescribe those medications and the pharmacies who fill those prescriptions.

I will reject a return to the failed drug wars of the past. I will seek to divert non-violent drug offenders into treatment and use discretion to avoid unduly harsh sentences, so that we can focus our criminal justice system on keeping us safe from the small number of criminals who commit the vast majority of violent crimes.

Stand up for Our Rights and Liberties

I will do everything in my legal and constitutional power to control guns and limit damage from their misuse in Buncombe County. I will aggressively prosecute cases where a gun is possessed by someone prohibited from possessing one, or where a gun is used in the commission of a violent crime. I will support a robust gun buy-back program to reduce the number of guns in our communities.

I will work to bring police and communities together by cracking down on police and prosecutorial corruption. Body and dash cam footage is available for review by the DA, and I plan to review that footage in every case where either a complaint is made or a defendant is charged with an offense against an officer. Simultaneously, it’s vital that we restore the trust and the relationships necessary for the efficient administration of justice between the DA’s Office, the courts, law enforcement, and the community, all of which have broken down in various ways over the past four years. We need to prosecute and remove those who do not abide by ADA guidelines and cast a shadow over our hard-working police force.

Protect Our Land and People

I will work to protect the environment by prosecuting corporate polluters, such as the CTS Corporation in South Asheville, who threaten our communities by illegally dumping waste on our streets and on private property as well as into our waterways, and by poisoning our air.  Furthermore, power companies – like Duke Energy – have been "not getting got" because few DAs even consider going after them and wait for the cases the police bring to them. In North Carolina, the local district attorney has sole prosecutorial discretion to prosecute environmental cases in the state court system. I will be proactive in investigating these types of crimes, and if I find criminal liability, I'll prosecute.

I will protect immigrants as part of protecting everybody. Fighting President Trump’s anti-immigration agenda and increasing trust between immigrants and police is more important than ever. To that end, I will institute policies and programs to help immigrants move through the criminal justice system without facing disproportionate consequences, like deportation, because of their status.


Together, we will achieve real justice for victims and others caught up in the criminal justice system. Volunteer now for Ben Scales