In the federal courts, criminal cases are generally assigned to judges on a random computerized basis. Given this understanding, legal observers in the Western District of Texas took notice when the chief judge intervened and assigned a case involving a former state attorney general to a trial judge who by some accounts is the tougher of the two judges who handle federal criminal cases in Austin. Reporter Marro Robbins laid out the situation -- including an on-the-record comment from one law professor who asserted that the chief judge and the litigant had feuded in the past. Robbins used TRACFED data to document that the median sentence of the judge assigned to handle the case was in fact two years longer than the other judge who normally would have handled it. Marrow noted, however, the composition of the cases assigned to the two judges in the past may have had some impact on their sentences.