Best Civil Judge (2002)
State District Judge Jane Bland
Harris County's state district courts were in big trouble in 1997, when the judicial ethics commission in effect bounced then-judge William Bell from the 281st Court bench. Stepping in after that mess was quiet newcomer Jane Bland, a pregnant lawyer who was only 32 -- and looked about ten years younger. Soon, however, even veteran jurists were noticing the unique maturity and stability Bland brought to the bench. She matched a considerable legal acumen with ample interest in social issues such as raising funds for the homeless. Now Bland's one of the proven veterans. She's worked through varied and tough cases: a challenge to the city's billboard law, litigation over the terrorist murders of four businessmen in Pakistan, wrestling with redistricting issues, and even disputes involving Destiny's Child. The name's Bland. The performance is anything but.