The judge was reassigned because his ruling was contrary to law, and was not within his discretion. In fact, this judge should probably be removed from the bench.
In this case, the defendant waived his right to a jury trial and asked the court (this judge) to be the finder of fact. The judge heard the evidence, applied the law, and found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant filed a motion to set aside the verdict, the judge, hypothetically, could have reviewed his findings of fact, reviewed the law, and determined that he had made a mistake in his original finding, and reversed the guilty verdict to not guilty. That hypothetical scenario would have been within the judge’s authority. But that’s not what happened. Rather, the judge admitted he was only reversing the guilty verdict because he didn’t want to apply the mandatory minimum four-year prison sentence, and reversing the guilty verdict was the only way to avoid that sentence. Under these facts, I believe the prosecution could appeal this judge’s decision as contrary to law. Normally, the prosecution cannot appeal a not guilty verdict, whether it’s issued by a jury or a judge.
People were all over that judge in the traffic fatality case for the 110 year sentence, but he followed the law in imposing it; he had no discretion to do otherwise. The person who did have discretion, the prosector, should have been more careful in how he/she charged the case. And the legislature should have written a better law to avoid such an absurd result.