A Trial Judge Is Trained to Not Be Prejudiced by Inadmissible Evidence

In Adjmi v. State, 208 So. 2d 859 (Fla. 3d DCA 1968), the district court held that the trial court did not commit error in failing to grant the defendant's motion for a direct verdict because in a trial before a court, without a jury the law is well-settled; the credibility of witnesses and the weight of their testimony are questions for the determination of the judge, whose function it is to draw all reasonable deductions from the evidence. In such cases, the judge is in a position to evaluate the testimony and discard that which is improper or which has little or no evidentiary value.Id. at 860. Several other decisions have emphasized that the standard of review is necessarily different when reviewing a judgment entered in a non-jury trial. In Brown v. State, 223 So. 2d 337 (Fla. 3d DCA 1969), the Third District again expressed the principle espoused in Prince v. Aucilla River Naval Stores Co., 103 Fla. 605, 137 So. 886 (Fla. 1931) that the trial court is deemed to have the training and discipline to not be prejudiced by inadmissible evidence. Analyzing the impact of the United States Supreme Court decision in Bruton v. United States, 391 U.S. 123, 88 S. Ct. 1620, 20 L. Ed. 2d 476 (1968), the Third District declined to reverse the trial court because the Bruton issue occurred during a bench trial.