It used to be that the judiciary shielded defense lawyers from legislative attempts to savage their pay. Because defense lawyers have no political constituency, it was the judiciary's duty to protect them, so that the defenders could, in turn, protect their clients. But politics and a diminishing government interest in preserving due process have changed all that. A judge is seldom recognized by his or her peers for scholarship, insight, reflection, wisdom or courage. Instead, state judges use statistics to assess the work of other judges. How big is your backlog? How many cases did you clear this month? Whether an outcome is fair, just, equitable or legal is a secondary consideration to the almighty monthly stat sheet issued by the presiding judge.