As a new assistant district attorney in North Carolina’s capital, Win Bassett ‘07 intends to serve the citizens of Wake County by administering justice fairly on their behalf.
The Virginia native initially came to Raleigh as a Park Scholar to pursue a double major in computer and electrical engineering at NC State. Given his love for reading and writing, Bassett also added an English minor. As he pondered his future, Bassett chose to cultivate his interest in law, inspired, in part, by his mother’s career as a paralegal.
“The relationships that I established during my Park Scholarship experience were, by far, the most important aspect of the program,” said Bassett. “Relationships, whether personal or professional, make life worth living and allow you to determine what life you want to live.”
After completing his J.D. at the University of North Carolina School of Law, Bassett incorporated his engineering background and served as a patent litigator. While working in patent law, he recalled an earlier experience during an internship with the Wake County District Attorney’s Office while in law school, and ultimately decided to change direction. When a position opened up under Wake County’s elected district attorney, Colon Willoughby, Bassett jumped at the opportunity to immerse himself in the human part of law that involved a fast-paced environment with ample time in the courtroom. He realized that the life of a prosecutor was an ideal fit.
These days, Bassett spends the majority of his week in district court on the second floor of the Wake County Courthouse in downtown Raleigh. He primarily handles traffic infractions and misdemeanors, involving cases ranging from speeding tickets to the possession of illegal substances, but is also the assistant district attorney that handles military matters and misdemeanor death by motor vehicle cases. Normally, Bassett is assigned to the same courtroom and the same judge for a week at a time, working with all the cases that come through that courtroom during the morning and afternoon sessions.
“The greatest challenge I have encountered so far in this position is prosecutorial discretion,” said Bassett. “Put simply, as an assistant district attorney, I have the power to charge people with crimes, amend crimes with which people have been charged, dismiss charges, and reduce charges – knowing when to do one of these when it furthers justice is sometimes difficult.
Outside the courtroom, Bassett is actively involved in a number of projects supporting the North Carolina beer community. He has authored several pieces in brewing publications, and co-founded the website NC Brewing. Bassett is also an avid runner who trains with Team Raleigh Running Outfitters-Fast Coaching Academy. He recently combined his passions creatively by helping launch the Big Boss Run Club.
Reprinted with permission from the Park Scholarships program.