Oxford County DA takes on domestic violence
by Peter McGuire, Staff Writer Sun Journal April 15, 2014
PARIS — Even though she has only been on the job for a month, Oxford County's newest prosecutor, Alexandra Winter, already has a full caseload.
She was thrown into the deep end of the pool pretty fast, but that's probably the best way to learn, the young attorney said in an interview at her new Oxford County Superior Court office Monday afternoon.
An Orono native, Winter lived and worked in West Africa and New York City before returning to Maine to practice law two years ago.
She was hired earlier this winter as a new full-time assistant district attorney, with an explicit focus on prosecuting domestic violence and sexual assault crimes.
Her position is funded through a nearly $782,000 grant awarded to Safe Voices, the regional anti-domestic violence nonprofit last December.
Although she wanted to practice criminal law, she didn't expect to become a prosecutor, Winter said. Her previous experience has been representing indigent defendants.
Even though the position is on the other side of the courtroom, it still fits with her commitment to help people who might otherwise fall through the cracks.
"I thought it was going to be a difficult transition," Winter said. "But I'm actually finding that this work I feel not only personally suits me, but I feel I fit here more than I do in criminal defense, amazingly."
After graduating high school from Orono, Winter attended Brandeis University, outside Boston, where she studied politics and legal studies. Her studies sparked a deep passion for public interest law and fed into her post-graduation move 2007 to Mauritania, the huge West African nation, as a Peace Corps volunteer.
For two years, Winter worked in a small community as an agricultural-forestry volunteer, living with a family and assisting local farmers to improve crop yields and develop local markets.
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