Today saw the State move through another seven of their witnesses, although as has seemed the pattern this first week of trial, the defense more so than the State appeared to benefit from their testimony.

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 5.03.19 PM

Lindzee Folgate, questioned by Mark O’Mara on cross-examination, 2/28/12

Among these two were most notable–Jonathan Good, who was a resident of Twin Lakes who observed much of that night’s events, and Lindzee Folgate, George Zimmerman’s physician assistant who treated his wounds the following day. With both of these witnesses the State took a horrible beating in the course of cross-examination–worse so with Good but still badly with Folgate–although in fairness the State did not fare particularly well with any of today’s witnesses.

Jonathan Good, Twin Lakes Resident, Substantively Confirms Defense’s Theory of the Case

The testimony of State witness Jonathan Good was remarkably, almost shockingly, destructive to the State’s theory of the case, however. So damaging was this testimony that between myself and Professor Jacobson led to three separate blog posts–and it warranted every one. Given the coverage we’ve already posted up, I won’t dwell on it here, but you need to read the three posts well to fully understand how effectively the defense co-opted yet another State witness to the benefit of their theory of the case and their client:

Zimmerman trial blockbuster — Eyewitness says Trayvon on top punching Mixed Martial Arts style

ZIMMERMAN TRIAL BLOCKBUSTER — TRANSCRIPT — Eyewitness Good: Black guy in black hoodie on top punching down Mixed Martial Arts style

Has State Opened Door to Defense Introducing Martin Fight Video?

Jonathan Good testimony, part 2

Jonathan Good testimony, part 3

Jonathan Good testimony, part 4

Jonathan Good testimony, part 5

Jonathan Good testimony, part 6

Lindzee Folgate, Physician’s Assistant–Whatever Zimmerman Did to Stop Attack Saved His Life

The other remarkable State witness was Lindzee Folgate, the physician’s assistant who closed out the day. On direct, Mr. de la Rionda used her as a foil to create the impression that Zimmerman’s injuries were really quite inconsequential, having her talk mostly about clinical symptoms from which Zimmerman was not suffering at the time she examined him.

This line of questioning seems remarkably foolish, for two reasons. First, there is no requirement under the law of self defense in Florida, or any other state, that a person must suffer so much as a scratch before they can use force, and even deadly force, in self-defense. All that the law of self-defense requires is that you have been REASONABLY IN FEAR of imminent death or grave bodily harm–it does NOT require that you ACTUALLY EXPERIENCE death or grave bodily harm before you can act in self-defense.

Second, however much effort Mr. de la Rionda might invest in arguing that Zimmerman suffered no meaningful injury, the numerous bloody photos of his injuries that night easily belie any such claims.

Indeed, on cross-examination O’Mara essentially ran out bloody photo after bloody-photo, asking in detail how each abrasion, contusion, laceration could have been caused–by traumatic impact, you say? Like if a fist was driven into his face? Or like if his head was pounded onto a concrete sidewalk by his attacker? Frankly, the whole line of questioning was an enormous gift to O’Mara, and as he walked back to the defense table after cross he had a broad smile on his face.

He also questioned Folgate on some of ZImmerman’s more general health parameters. Blood pressure? Too high. Pulse rate? Too high. BMI? He’s clinically obese. All these facts belied de la Rionda’s attempts to create the impression that Zimmerman was some kind of lean, mean, MMA-fighting machine with his MMA gym membership.

O’Mara’s biggest home run with Folgate came with his final question, however: “Medically speaking, would you say that whatever he did to stop the attack allowed him to survive it?” Folgate: “It could have, yes.” Boom.

Lindzee Folgate testimony, part 2

Lindzee Folgate testimony, part 3

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy–Mostly Co-Opted by the Defense

The other five witnesses did little to help the State in any substantive way, and most were to one degree or another co-opted by the defense.

George McKinney,  United Security Alliance

The first witness, George McKinney, was the least interesting. He worked for the company that managed the Twin Lakes CCTV system. Although the State showed a few video clips, if there was anything to see there of any use whatever, beyond a flickering light here and a flickering shadow there, I missed it.

Greg McKinney testimony, part 2

Greg McKinney testimony, part 3

Jonathan Manalo, Resident, Twin Lakes

Jonathan Manalo, the husband of Jeanee Manalo, followed Jonathan Good. He was the first resident to physically meet with ZImmerman in the moments following the shooting, going outside with a flashlight to see what was going in the brief interval between the shot being fired and the police (already on their way as a result of Zimmerman’s earlier call) arrived. He used this time wisely, it seems, by taking a photograph of both Martin’s body and the back of Zimmerman’s bloody head–I understand that he profited nicely by selling these photos to the news media.

One interesting facet to this gun guy is that Manalo himself appeared to be a gun guy. One of his first questions to Zimmerman was to ask what caliber he had used–9mm, Zimmerman replied. Manalo also knew enough to characterize Zimmerman’s holster as an “Inside the Waistband” (or IWB), the same type I happen to favor.

BDLR spent much of his direct here again trying to build an argument that Zimmerman’s injuries were in fact minor and inconsequential.

Jonathan Manalo testimony, part 2

Jonathan Manalo testimony, part 3

The First Responders: Consummate Professionals

Next came a trio of first responders–Officer Ricardo Ayala, SPD, EMT Stacey Livingston, SFD, and Timothy Smith, SPD. All were as professional as one would expect from having a Seargeant like Raimondo (who testified earlier in the week). Mr. de la Rionda made little of these fine people on direct other than to again suggest that Zimmerman’s injuries were no big deal, and also that his affect in the aftermath of the shooting was so “calm” as to suggest he was uncaring or cavalier about having taken a human life. O’Mara undercut both these lines of argument skillfully in his cross-examination.

Police Officer Ricardo Ayala, Sanford Police Department

Police Officer Ricardo Ayala testimony, part 2

Emergency Medical Technician, Stacey Livingston

Emergency Medical Technician Stacey Livingston testimony, part 2


Police Officer Timothy Smith, Sanford Police Department

With Office smith he also took the same approach he had with Sergeant Raimondo–getting him to talk about how much he enjoyed his career in law enforcement serving and protecting his community. As with Raimondo, the message was clear: if this fine young man believed, as he explicitly did, that a career in law enforcement was an honorable calling, how could it be a bad thing that George Zimmerman had at one point wanted to be a law enforcement officer himself, much less that Zimmerman had taken the lead on the Neighborhood Watch Program.

Police Officer Timothy Smith testimony, part 2 

Police Officer Timothy Smith testimony, part 3


Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense,” now available in its just released 2nd Edition, which shows you how to successfully fight the 20-to-life legal battle everyone faces after defending themselves. UPDATE: July 5, 2013 is the LAST DAY to take advantage of the 30% pre-order discount, only $35, plus free shipping. To do so simply visit the Law of Self Defense blog.

BREAKING: “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition” is now also being carried by, at list price but with a commitment for 2-day delivery.  A Kindle version to come within a week or so (I hope).

Many thanks to Professor Jacobson for the invitation to guest-blog on the Zimmerman trial here on Legal Insurrection!

You can follow Andrew on Twitter on @LawSelfDefense (or @LawSelfDefense2 if I’m in Twitmo, follow both!)on Facebook, and at his blog, The Law of Self Defense.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.