The View of the Court on the Divergent Factors Between a Bench Trial and Jury Trial

In Brown v. State, 223 So. 2d 337 (Fla. 3d DCA 1969) the district court based its holding on the divergent factors between a bench trial and a jury trial: Fear has often been acknowledged that a lay jury is susceptible and amenable to ignoring established constitutional principles involving admissibility of confessions and exculpatory remarks. And it is a well established principle that a trial judge, sitting alone, and therefore in the capacity as trier of fact, will be less likely to be prejudicially influenced by this type of evidence than would be the untrained minds of the jurors. Finally, we take judicial notice of the fact that any confession or exculpatory statements, tendered by the state for admission into evidence, must be first reviewed, and then evaluated for admissibility by the trial judge. This necessarily involves the judge's viewing every tendered piece of evidence before making an initial decision as to its constitutionality. When such evidence is rejected by a trial judge, he is deemed to have the training, experience, and discipline of faculties so as to avoid being influenced by any prejudicial effects therefrom. . . . to reverse this trial on the basis that the trial judge, in his capacity as trier of fact, was so prejudicially influenced by his encounter with the incriminating portions of the co-defendants' confessions . . ., would be to cast aspersions on the entire foundation of the judge's role in any court proceeding. Brown, 223 So. 2d at 339 ; See also Leeb v. Read, 190 So. 2d 830, 832-33 (Fla. 3d DCA 1966) (applying the Prince principle to hold that evidentiary errors made during a bench trial did not affect the substantial rights of the complaining party).