Man Sentenced to 180 Days in Jail for Multiple Felonies and Misdemeanors – Judge Tells Him to ‘Put Your Best Foot Forward’

By Joseph Shepard & Casey Rawlings

SANTA BARBARA, CA –Ramon Zaragoza appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court this week for a disposition hearing to finalize his sentence after being charged with several misdemeanors and an upper level felony back in late 2019.

He would get a light sentence and a little lecture at the hearing.

Zaragoza’s felony counts include, second degree robbery and another for a hit and run which caused injuries. In addition, Zaragoza also faced misdemeanor charges for battery and for driving with a suspended license due to a DUI (driving under the influence).

Zaragoza has been incarcerated since early February of 2021, serving time for other crimes not included in this hearing.

In court, Zaragoza’s attorney Mark Owens, described his client’s contrition, accountability he has incurred since his actions, and potential to grow and change through the availability of substance abuse programs.

Owens further illustrated his client’s eligibility for a decreased sentence by describing that “Mr. Zaragoza is remorseful, has taken responsibility for his actions, and has repaid the debt that was owed… he has taken care of restitution in that regard.”

Owens stated that there was no benefit of Zaragoza remaining in custody, and proposed that the court award him with time served. Additionally, Owens asked that his client be provided the opportunity to apply for electronic surveillance as opposed to additional time, noting he has children he is dedicated to supporting and spending time with.

According to Owens, Zaragoza “was paying child support before he got locked up six months ago.” Owens mentioned this, at the request of his client, to further his argument for a reduced sentence, claiming that Zaragoza wants to work in order to continue paying the child support.

Prosecutor Sean Brunton argued stated Zaragoza’s charges were “serious offenses,” and directly challenged the “leniency in the form of the offer that has been extended.”

Brunton did mention that Zaragoza’s actions, while still illegal, were not “the most violent or most egregious version” of the crimes that he was charged with.

Brunton explained that it was because of this, as well as other unusual circumstances, that the people offered “extraordinary relief” to Zaragoza in the form of a lenient offer.

Brunton did not agree the circumstances of Zaragoza’s case warranted a reduction in the amount of time that Zaragoza should have to spend in custody.

He contended that “custody served is an important punitive purpose in expressing to Mr. Zaragoza the harm that he committed in society. It should be noted that at least one of the offenses is a repeat offense, and one of his offenses was a hit and run with injury.”

However, Brunton empathized with the defense’s reasoning that Mr. Zaragoza’s exposure to substance related therapy could instigate growth, particularly when compared to the lack of restoration available while incarcerated.

Prosecutor Brunton did say “given that Mr. Zaragoza has struggled with some form of substance abuse, probation’s ability to monitor him, sanction him, with less severe sanctions than prison, might be warranted.”

He concluded by asking that Zaragoza receive a range from six months to one year in custody, to honor both disciplinary and restorative measures. Brunton asked for less time served so that Zaragoza could “impress upon the inappropriateness and seriousness of his spiraling behavior, while also providing the opportunity to participate and work the probation for his own rehabilitation.”

The judge ruled that the imposition of the initial sentence of six years is to be suspended, instead initiating 180 days in jail and three years of probation. She enumerated his fines, reducing his restitution fines to a mandatory minimum, and suspending court related fines and fees.

The judge instructed the defendant to “maintain a standard of personal appearance that will not stop you from getting a job…put your best foot forward.”

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