Can Court Force a Defendant to Present Mitigating Evidence During the Penalty Phase ?

In Hamblen v. State, 527 So. 2d 800 (Fla. 1988), the court determined that a defendant cannot be forced to present mitigating evidence during the penalty phase of the trial. The court reasoned that "all competent defendants have a right to control their own destinies" within the ambit of the rights, responsibilities, and procedures set forth in the constitution and statutes. Id. at 804. The court therefore continue to hold that a trial court should not be required to appoint special counsel for purposes of presenting mitigating evidence to a penalty phase jury if the defendant has knowingly and voluntarily waived the presentation of such evidence. See: Nixon v. Singletary, 758 So. 2d 618, 625 (Fla.) ("The defendant, not the attorney, is the captain of the ship."), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 980 (2000); Koon v. Dugger, 619 So. 2d 246 (Fla. 1993); Farr v. State, 621 So. 2d 1368 (Fla. 1993).