Can a Trial Court Refuse to Consider Relevant Mitigating Factors ?
In Zack v. State, 753 So. 2d 9 (Fla. 2000) the Court, quoting Campbell v. State, 571 So. 2d 415, 419 (Fla. 1990), stated that the trial court cannot refuse to consider relevant mitigating factors:
When addressing mitigating circumstances, the sentencing court must expressly evaluate in its sentencing order each mitigating circumstance proposed by the defendant to determine whether it is supported by the evidence and whether, in the case of nonstatutory factors, it is truly of a mitigating nature. . . . the court must find as a mitigating circumstance each proposed factor that is mitigating in nature and has been reasonably established by the greater weight of the evidence . . . .
In Blanco v. State, 706 So. 2d 7, 10 (Fla. 1997), this Court summarized the Campbell standards of review for mitigating circumstances:
The Court in Campbell . . . established relevant standards of review for mitigating circumstances:
(1) Whether a particular circumstance is truly mitigating in nature is a question of law and subject to de novo review by this Court;
(2) whether a mitigating circumstance has been established by the evidence in a given case is a question of fact and subject to the competent substantial evidence standard; and finally;
(3) the weight assigned to a mitigating circumstance is within the trial court's discretion and subject to the abuse of discretion standard.