Sentencing was postponed this morning for Delano Blayze Malang, convicted of mayhem for biting off half the thumb of an Arcata police sergeant.

Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis granted the continuance after defense attorney R.J. Leohner said he has not received Malang’s mental health records from out-of-state. He did not request the records until last week.

“It was an error on my part that it wasn’t filed earlier,” Leohner told the judge.

Deputy District Attorney Trent Timm, the trial prosecutor, was blind-sided by the defense asking for a delay. He had notified APD Sgt. Heidi Groszmann, the officer whose thumb was bitten, that Malang was being sentenced this morning. Groszmann came to court prepared to speak to the judge.

“We definitely object to a continuance in this case,” Timm said. “I did not know there was a motion to continue until now.”

He said Groszmann took time off work to come to court and make a statement.

“She has rights,” Timm said. “Her rights are being trampled on by defense counsel.”

Leohner responded he would not object to Groszmann speaking today rather than waiting for the sentencing, but she said she would wait. Sentencing is now scheduled for May 13.

Malang grew up in a small town in Oregon but had been homeless in Arcata for several months when the thumb-biting incident occurred on Aug. 1, 2021. Officers, with great difficulty, were trying to take Malang into custody because they suspected he was high on methamphetamine.

If Malang does have mental problems, the issue wasn’t addressed during his trial.

But Elvine-Kreis said this morning Malang’s mental health will be something he considers at sentencing.

He apologized to Groszmann for the delay but said “good cause (for continuance) is good cause.” He noted Malang is not to blame for the records being unavailable.

Malang, who wears a red jumpsuit signifying he is segregated from the jail’s general population, sat silently next to his attorney this morning. At age 22 he already has one “strike” for robbery and now could face a long prison sentence for mayhem and causing great bodily injury.

Malang testified during the trial and acknowledged his crime. He denied he was under the influence of meth at the time.