What Happens If a Trial Judge Erroneously Admits Evidence ?

In Petion v. State, 4 So. 3d 83 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009), we see that potential realized in the holding that "when a trial judge, sitting as the trier of fact, erroneously admits evidence, the judge is presumed to have disregarded that evidence." Id. at 87. In so holding, the appellate court imputed to the trial judge a legal understanding concerning the disputed evidence which the trial judge's ruling of admissibility belies. To presume that a trial judge disregards evidence which that judge has ruled to be admissible is to presume that the trial judge acts in a way that is inconsistent with her own understanding of the law. The legal ruling of admissibility constitutes a determination that the evidence should be considered by the trier of fact. A judge as trier of fact should be presumed to act in accord with the legal rulings made by the judge.