Bart Menser was named this year’s outstanding prosecutor in the state, chosen by his peers who credit him with setting a standard for ethics and fairness in the Mecklenburg court system for more than 30 years.
Menser, Mecklenburg’s longtime deputy district attorney, will receive the Peter S. Gilchrist Award on Thursday night from the N.C. State Bar. Almost two dozen of his co-workers are expected to make the drive to Cary to be on hand.
The honor is named for Menser’s former boss. Gilchrist, the county’s top prosecutor for 36 years, added Menser to his staff in 1982. Menser later became Gilchrist’s top deputy, a position he kept after Gilchrist retired and Andrew Murray was elected to replace him in 2010.
Every success I have had can be traced back to things Bart taught me about justice, humanity and excellence.
Former U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins on Bart Menser
Menser, according to Murray’s nomination letter, “is very aware of the power and the responsibility that comes with being a prosecutor. His sense of right and wrong, and his constant evaluation of ethical duties ... makes him the moral compass of the DA’s Office.”
Gilchrist also weighed in. “His most significant contribution ... has been the training and mentoring of younger lawyers in the ethical and professional practice of law,” he wrote.
As the office’s deputy DA, Menser’s job is to work with police and courthouse officials to make the county’s justice system efficient and ethical. When new Mecklenburg prosecutors are hired, they meet with Menser to discuss ethical and professional standards that are expected.
Menser mentored former U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins early in her career when she joined Gilchrist’s staff.
“Every success I have had can be traced back to things Bart taught me about justice, humanity and excellence,” she said Thursday. “Bart’s positive impact on so many lawyers in the Mecklenburg County Bar is quite remarkable.”
Menser’s standing among his fellow lawyers extends to the other side of the courtroom. Public Defender Kevin Tully says Menser has always tempered the power of the prosecutor with what is “just and fair.”