Best Civil Court Judge (2005)

Levi Benton

Say what you will about George W. Bush's term as governor, one thing that can't be argued is that he broke apart the good-ol'-boy network that previous Republican govs habitually used to fill judicial vacancies. One of the minority attorneys he named was Levi Benton, a previously little-known lawyer who was nominated in 1999. Benton has stayed out of the limelight for the most part since then but has won a reputation as a courteous, well-prepared judge who's ready to listen to both sides. He's not the flashiest guy on the bench, but neither side of a case comes out of his courtroom feeling like they got screwed. Well, not too much, anyway -- no one who loses a court case ever thinks they got a fair hearing.