After 25 years, Toles not running for re-election

Published 11:01 am Thursday, February 22, 2007

After 25 years on the bench, Justice Court Judge Mary Toles is not running for re-election.

“When I finish this year, that’s it,” Toles said. “I made up my mind four years ago I would not run again. The people have just been wonderful to me, and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s time for me to move on.”

Toles said she had people call her, asking her to reconsider and to run again, but she said she told them she wouldn’t.

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“You can’t go out there, give your word and go back on it,” Toles said.

Looking back on her years of experience, Toles said she thought being a good judge took several qualities.

“I think you have to be studious, I think you have to have good common sense and sometimes you have to have some compassion,” she said. “So often, many people look around and assume everybody who comes through court is a criminal. You have got to have good common sense in terms of knowing a transgression when you see one.”

Toles also said she received complements on how her court was conducted.

“People come back years later and say, ‘I really appreciate the way you maintain and run your court,’” she said. “If you’re going to stay there, you’ve got to treat people with respect. It could be the worst person in the world, but when they come in my court, everybody is going to be treated the same right across the board.”

She said she hopes whoever takes her place would try to improve things, too, like making the court phone system more efficient, among other things.

Now that she is retiring, Toles hopes to focus on other things, like tracing her genealogy and volunteering.

“I helped with the founding of the NAPAC museum, but I have not been as active in the last five or six years,” Toles said.

“I would really like to have more of a presence there.

“And I love working in my yard. It’s going to be my yard, traveling, my grandchildren and working with the museum.”