United States v. Coulter, No. 21-6118 (10th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Defendant-Appellant Germaine Coulter, Sr. appealed his convictions for child sex trafficking and conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking. For many years, Coulter was a pimp in the Oklahoma City area. Upon release from a five-year state prison term in 2017, he conscripted an underage girl, “Doe 2,” to recruit a schoolmate, “Doe 1,” to perform sex work for him. After Doe 1 expressed interest, Elizabeth Andrade, one of Coulter’s longtime sex workers, took pictures of Doe 1 in various stages of undress and sent them to Coulter. He forwarded the photos to potential clients with messages suggesting that Doe 1 would perform sex acts for money. Andrade also sent the photos to potential clients and used one of the photos to advertise Doe 1’s services online. A grand jury indicted Coulter and later issued a superseding indictment
charging him with (1) conspiring with Andrade to commit child sex trafficking, (2) child sex trafficking with respect to Doe 1, and (3) child sex trafficking with respect to "Doe 3." The grand jury also indicted Andrade for conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking. She pled guilty. Relevant to this appeal, the jury deliberated for about six hours before reporting it had reached a verdict. It filled out verdict forms finding Coulter guilty on Counts 1 and 2 related to Doe 1, but said it was deadlocked on Count 3 related to Doe 3. When the district court polled the jury, one juror said the verdict did not reflect her opinion and expressed that she did not want to return to the deliberations. The he district court recessed for the weekend. On Monday morning, Coulter moved for a mistrial based on these events with the jury. The district court denied the motion. The jury did continue deliberations, but reached the same result. Coulter thereafter moved for a new trial, arguing (1) the evidence against him was insufficient to support the jury verdict and (2) the district court erred in admitting certain testimony. The motion was denied and Coulter was sentenced to 360 months in prison. The Tenth Circuit found the trial court handled its post-trial jury interactions without abusing its discretion. Further, the Court found any admission of testimony was harmless. Accordingly, Coulter's convictions and sentence were affirmed.