An Express Statement That Evidence Was Disregarded Supports a Determination That the Presumption Was Not Rebutted

In Daniels v. State, 634 So. 2d 187 (Fla. 3d DCA 1994), the Court established that an express statement on the record from the trial court that the evidence was disregarded further supports a determination that the presumption was not rebutted. The rule, as reiterated in State v. Arroyo, 422 So. 2d 50, 51 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982), is that where a trial judge sitting as a fact finder "erroneously admits evidence, he is presumed to have disregarded the improperly admitted evidence, and the error of its admission is deemed harmless." This presumption is overcome only if the record discloses that the trial judge relied upon the erroneous evidence. Id. See also: King v. State, 988 So. 2d 111, 113 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) (noting that "in a bench trial, there is a presumption that the trial court disregards any erroneously admitted evidence" and that the trial court "specifically stated that it was not considering testimony other than that directly related to the murder"); Schwarz v. State, 695 So. 2d 452, 455-56 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997) (substantially similar); Wythers v. State, 348 So. 2d 390 (Fla. 3d DCA 1977) (holding that trial court's admission of improper comment on a defendant's post-Miranda silence did not require reversal where the record expressly reflected that the trial court recognized and disregarded the improper evidence); Capitoli v. State, 175 So. 2d 210, 212 (Fla. 2d DCA 1965) (holding error, if any, in admission of challenged evidence where the trial judge explicitly stated that he based his findings upon certain evidence and that he disregarded the challenged evidence was harmless).