Determing Whether Rehabilitation Is Likely Based on Statutory Mental Mitigating Factors

In Brown v. State, 526 So. 2d 903 (Fla. 1988), the defendant killed a law enforcement officer after being stopped during an investigation into a recent robbery that Brown and his companion had committed. We summarized the mitigating evidence as follows: According to expert testimony, appellant had an IQ of 70-75, classified as borderline defective or just above the level for mild mental retardation. At age ten, he had been placed in a school for the emotionally handicapped. Although chronologically eighteen, he had the emotional maturity of a preschool child. The psychologist concluded that both statutory mental mitigating factors applied, i.e., that the murder was an impulsive act committed while appellant was under the influence of serious emotional disturbance and while his capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or conform his conduct to the law was substantially impaired. Additionally, there was testimony that appellant was not a vicious or predatory-type criminal and rehabilitation thus was likely. 526 So. 2d at 908. We held it was error for the trial court to override the jury's recommendation of life because there was sufficient evidence in the record to support the jury's recommendation. Id.