It's been a good year for the county's top lawyer, both in politics and in court. Not only has Mason helped steer the feared and revered D-2000 group, he's led his office deftly and with refreshing openness. Mason has been smart enough to make himself accessible to the media, strategic enough to surround himself with bright staffers, and impartial enough to chase all manner of law-breakers, from murderous thugs to errant cops, with dogged fervor. He won the biggest case of the year -- the (third) Sam Sheppard trial. And sent several big-name defendants to prison for a long time, including stalker and ex-fireman Thomas McCarthy and the South High plotters. All in the name of justice? Certainly. But also of Mason.