BY INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER LINDA SUTTER
On an ordinary day you wake up, go about your business, go to work and then maybe enjoy the company of some friends later in the evening. You receive a phone call from the hospital, “Your husband has been in an accident.” When you arrive at the hospital, you are met by a California Highway Patrol officer, who informs you that your husband will be charged with MURDER.
Family number two. It is another ordinary day; you wake up and go about your business for the day. Later in the evening it is cold and raining but you have to get into your vehicle and drive to where ever your destination is that evening. The wife receives a phone call that there has been an accident and her husband is DEAD.
The two scenarios occurred. This is the case with Coulter Mann. Coulter Mann, a 34 year old man, who went out to socialize with his friends (most of whom are with the Del Norte County Unified School District) which included drinking. Although, allegedly people at the party told him not to drive, he, in his infinite wisdom, decided that he was not impaired and got into his vehicle and drove. Not only did he get into his vehicle and drive impaired, but he also made the decision to utilize his cell phone while driving on a night with winter conditions where rain and darkness were prevalent.
In the 4th file of the court documents I saw that the Judge Richard Kalustian, court ordered a restitution fine of $5,500.00 for the negligent death of another man. Is that what a human life is worth? A lousy $5,500.00? Oh, there were a few other little fines that mounted up to a couple of hundred of dollars. The kicker here is Coulter Mann a Caucasian did absolutely no jail time until he was required to surrender to Del Norte County Jail on March 10, 2014, where he will be taken to San Quentin for 90 days of evaluation. This will determine his sentencing and program needs as a convicted felon. Had this situation been turned around where an American Indian had caused the death would that American Indian receive the same sentence?
Another fact is the defendant, Coulter Mann, made a motion to release all exhibits, depositions, interrogatories marked for identification and received in evidence during trial be released to the owner or destroyed when this action becomes final, according to Penal Code 1417.1 et. Seq.; Signed again by Judge Kalustian on March 7, 2014. Sounds like someone is trying to hide something to keep the victims family from a civil lawsuit.
Finally, The kicker to all of this is Judge Kalustian decides to recall his sentencing pursuant to government code 1170 d (1), after stating probation was denied as the court finds the defendant not to be a suitable candidate for a grant of probation. Government Code 1170 d(1) states in part; within 120 days of the date of commitment on its own motion, or at any time upon the recommendation of the secretary of the Board of Parole Hearings, recall the sentence and commitment previously ordered and re-sentence the defendant in the same manner as if he or she had not previously been sentenced, provided the new sentence, if any, is no greater than the initial sentence. The court
Re-sentencing under this subdivision shall apply the sentencing rules of the Judicial Council so as to eliminate disparity of sentences and to promote uniformity of sentencing. Credit shall be given for time served.
The court had also originally found the aggravated term applies, for Count 1 of Vehicle Code 23153(a) which gives 3 years of upper term. Vehicle Code 231531(a) states the following;
It is unlawful for a person, while under the influence of any alcoholic beverage to drive a vehicle
and concurrently do any act forbidden by law, or neglect any duty imposed by law in driving the
vehicle, which act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to any person other than the driver.
The special allegation pursuant to penal code 12022.7(a) was stricken. Penal Code 12022.7(a) states the following; a) Any person who personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice in the commission of a felony or attempted felony shall be punished by an additional and consecutive term of imprisonment in the state prison for three years.
Why Judge Kalustian struck the above special allegation is anyone’s guess. The bottom line is this; about a year ago a young man made a you tube video where he confessed that he drove under the influence of alcohol which resulted in another person’s death. This young man wanted to pay the consequences for his actions, and in fact did. If Coulter Mann was truly sorry for his actions, then he would man up and pay the consequences of his actions by doing the prison term that befalls him instead of fighting it out in court and making the victims he created suffer intentional infliction of emotional distress. But simply saying, “I am sorry, and I am offering to pay the funeral costs,” is simply not enough.