Where a jury and a trial judge reach contrary conclusions because the facts derive from conflicting evidence, or where they have struck a different balance between aggravating and mitigating circumstances which both have been given an opportunity to evaluate, the jury recommendation should be followed because that body has been assigned by history and statute the responsibility to discern truth and mete out justice. Given that the imposition of a death penalty “is not a mere counting process of X number of aggravating circumstances and Y number of mitigating circumstances, but rather a reasoned judgment . . . ,” both our Anglo-American jurisprudence and Florida's death penalty statute favor the judgment of jurors over that of jurists.
[W]hen juries differ with the result at which the judge would have arrived, it is usually because they are serving some of the very purposes for which they were created and for which they are now employed.
Michael Mello & Ruthann Robson,
Judge over Jury: Florida's Practice of Imposing Death over Life in Capital Cases,
13 Fla. St. U. L. Rev.