Statutory and Nonstatutory Mitigators When Officer Is Killed

In Songer v. State, 544 So. 2d 1010 (Fla. 1989), the defendant killed a law enforcement officer who apparently approached Songer while he was sleeping in his car. Songer had walked away from a work release program several days earlier. The trial court found one aggravator (defendant was under sentence of imprisonment) and several statutory mitigators: the crime was committed while Songer was under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance, Songer's ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct or to conform his conduct to the requirements of law was substantially impaired, and his age, twenty-three years old. The trial court also found several nonstatutory mitigators: Songer's sincere and heartfelt remorse; his chemical dependency on drugs, which caused significant mood swings; his history of adapting well to prison life and using the time for self-improvement; his positive change of character attributes, as manifested in a desire to help others; his emotionally impoverished upbringing; his positive influence on his family despite his incarceration; and his developing strong spiritual and religious standards. See 544 So. 2d at 1011.