It's a state habeas case. Defendant was convicted of attempting to kill his ex-girlfriend's teenage son with a hammer.
The panel consists of Judge Pregerson, Judge Trott, and a senior district judge from Florida. The Ninth Circuit not only reverses and remands, granting the habeas petition, but ends the opinion by expressing disbelief that the state would even attempt to retry the defendant, saying:
"Liao has served his time in prison and is currently on
parole. It is difficult to conceive of circumstances under which the State would again take him before a jury.
Nevertheless, as is our practice and authority, we reverse the
decision of the District Court and remand with instructions to
grant a conditional writ of habeas corpus ordering Liao’s
release from all forms of custody unless the State of
California elects within 90 days of the issuance of the
mandate to retry him."
Who wrote that opinion? With the hint that it wasn't the judge sitting by designation: It was either Judge Pregerson or Judge Trott.