BY LINDA SUTTER
JUDGE IMPOSES THREE YEAR SENTENCE ON COULTER MANN
Coulter Mann, showed no emotion as he walked into the court room dressed in orange, heavily chained at the waist and ankles as he enterd an emotionally charged courtroom filled with Yurok Tribal members and family members of the deceased victim Jones. There were approximately three law enforcement agencies that filled the back and front of the court room. On the other side of the court room family and friends of Coulter Mann showed a presence of support.
Assistant DA Zocchi asked Judge Kalustian if the Tribal Members could speak on behalf of the people. The Judge stated, “ Make me an offer of proof. What is the nature of information that the tribe needs to make now”?
Tribal member Gensaw was permitted to speak to the Judge on behalf of his native tribe. With the look of contempt in his eyes, the Judge permitted Gensaw to speak.
Gensaw begins, “ The Yurok Tribe are proud American Natives. We must follow all the laws of this jurisdiction and expect to be treated fairly like everyone else. If we get drunk and drive we are punished for that. Our children are watching what goes on here today. We teach our children right from wrong, but if this court does not give punishment to Mr. Mann, then what message will that send to our children? What message does that send to our people about getting fair treatment”?
The judge abruptly interrupts Mr. Gensaw stating, “ I NEED SOMETHING SPECIFIC ON THIS CASE, HOW DO YOU FEEL THE TRIBE HAS BEEN TREATED UNFAIRLY”?
Gensaw respectfully replies, “ We are citizens just like everyone else and we want this gentlemen treated like we are treated; not a slap on the wrist and then walk away.”
Mr. Gensaw thanked the judge and returned to his seat.
Assistant District Attorney Zocchi states, “The court struck great bodily injury enhancement, where a 6 year sentence was imposed down to a 3 year sentence which will only be served half time. This is too lenient of a sentence.”
Zocchi argued that was inappropriate and there is no reason for the court to deviate what was originally ordered. On March 3rd, 2014, the enhancement was struck when it should have stayed the sentence, striking the great bodily injury enhancement made it sound as though it was a DUI and somebody ended up with a band aid, when in fact a person did not suffer great bodily injury, a person died.
Mr. Zocchi presents the report from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) from the Correctional Counselor and from the Correctional Psychologist. The Correctional Counselor recommended Mr. Mann stay in prison as he was a threat to the safety and security of society because Mr. Mann does not believe he was impaired from alcohol that he just had an accident. The prison report corroborates what the People of Del Norte were asking of the court.
The Judge smugly interrupts and states, “I KNOW WHAT THE REPORTS SAID.”
Zocchi continues, “I hope you punish him and he sits in prison.” The Correctional Counselor in his report goes on to to state, “The unfavorable factors outweigh the favorable factors. Mr. Mann believes he was not impaired from alcohol when facts show otherwise. If released Mr. Mann would re-offend.”
Zocchi reads the next report from the Correctional Psychologist. “Notable concerns for risk level to commit further incidences. Mr. Mann has not gained any insight through this ordeal. Mann admits he caused the accident but repeatedly denies he was intoxicated.”
Question asked as to why he refused the test in the hospital? Mr. Mann could not remember, (probably because he suffered from alcohol amnesia, as most alcoholics do). Mr. Mann alluded that this accident was caused by a series of unfortunate events and does not recognize he has an alcohol problem.
Now the defense attorney steps up to the plate. “The issue is whether Mann is a danger to the community. There are substantial favorable characteristics that Mr. Mann would succeed on probation. There are no case factors to support that the psychologist believes this will reoccur.”
The defense attorney tried to argue whether or not the psychologist is accurate on her evaluation. The defense attorney tried to play the “Mr. Mann and his family are suffering, the community hates him, and Coulter Mann if placed on probation would never again jeopardize anything that will keep him from his family.”
ONE OF THE FAMILY MEMBERS STANDS UP AND SCREAMED OUT, “ MOTHER FUCKERS YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT MY FAMILY IS GOING THROUGH.” The Bailiff immediately responded and ordered the individual to sit down, no more outbursts or he would have to leave the court room.
Zocchi had the last say, “The primary goal is punishment. You kill somebody while drinking and driving deserves punishment. The psychologist believes he will offend again. Mann thinks it was just an “accident. It was not an accident, it was criminally bad judgment we ask that you reinstate the sentence.”
Judge Kalustian spoke, “ When I read the reports I found it incredibly naive that Mann does not believe alcohol impaired him along with texting. Mr. Mann has served 158 days which will be added onto his credit, original sentence imposed… 3 years.”
Law enforcement had the victims family leave the court room, and then the defendants family who left in tears because their son was not released, but returned to CDCR.