Best County Judge for Hard Times - 2009
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being charged with a petty crime and without sufficient funds to pay your debt to society, you'd be damn lucky if you landed in the courtroom of Teresa Tolle. A former nun, Tolle wears her compassion on her robe and is willing to buck the district attorney's standard plea recommendations for fines, and even the length of probationary periods, in order to accommodate financial hardship. Needless to say, she is adored by the criminal bar, though prosecutors may worry that her standard of proof is different from theirs. But in a job in which seeing humanity's masses daily offer lame excuses for conduct that ranges from the cruel to the idiotic to the benign, she manages to care. And that says something.