Determining Whether Trial Court Applied Right Rule of Law for Each Aggravating Circumstance
In Jackson v. State, 648 So. 2d 85, 89 (Fla. 1994), this Court established a four-part test to determine whether the cold, calculated, and premeditated (CCP) aggravating factor is justified:
(1) the killing must have been the product of cool and calm reflection and not an act prompted by emotional frenzy, panic, or a fit of rage (cold);
(2) the defendant must have had a careful plan or prearranged design to commit murder before the fatal incident (calculated);
(3) the defendant must have exhibited heightened premeditation (premeditated);
(4) there must have been no pretense of moral or legal justification. Lynch v. State, 841 So. 2d 362, 371 (Fla. 2003) (citing Jackson, 648 So. 2d at 89).
The Supreme Court of Florida has articluated the standard for evaluating a trial court's finding of an aggravating circumstance as follows:
"It is not this Court's function to reweigh the evidence to determine whether the State proved each aggravating circumstance beyond a reasonable doubt-that is the trial court's job.
Rather, this Court's task on appeal is to review the record to determine whether the trial court applied the right rule of law for each aggravating circumstance and, if so, whether competent substantial evidence supports its finding." Willacy v. State, 696 So. 2d 693, 695 (Fla. 1997) (footnote omitted);
See also Occhicone v. State, 570 So. 2d 902, 905 (Fla. 1990) ("When there is a legal basis to support finding an aggravating factor, we will not substitute our judgment for that of the trial court . . . ."); Brown v. Wainwright, 392 So. 2d 1327, 1331 (Fla. 1981) ("Our sole concern on evidentiary matters is to determine whether there was sufficient competent evidence in the record from which the judge and jury could properly find the presence of appropriate aggravating or mitigating circumstances."). Franklin v. State, 965 So. 2d 79, 98 (Fla. 2007).