Man Facing 39 Additional Charges from ‘Insolent’ Behavior in Pretrials Leading Up to Trial Later This Month


By Casey Rawlings

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Keith Zeasley appeared in Santa Barbara County Superior Court for a Trial Confirmation Conference (TCC) here this week after being charged with multiple felonies in February. His trial date is Aug. 24.

His charges included assault with a deadly weapon, attempting to dissuade a witness, and preventing a witness from attending trial. Zeasley has pleaded not guilty to these charges. 

But the really unusual charges are those he’s garnered for “insolent” behavior in pretrials—39 of them.

After Zeasley’s arrest on Feb. 23, he had multiple pretrial court dates, at which he acquired 39 misdemeanor charges for a crime against public justice that prohibits a wide variety of behavior, including disorderly, contemptuous, or insolent conduct committed during the sitting of a court of justice, in the immediate view of the court. 

Zeasley pleaded not guilty to these charges, perhaps facilitating the relatively lenient 20 minutes that he was allowed to spend with his attorney today in his TCC. 

Zeasley has been incarcerated since February of this year, and had a trial readiness and settlement conference three weeks ago, during which he expressed great fear regarding COVID safety at the jail where he’s incarcerated. 

He stated, “COVID is going around man, it’s everywhere… I feel like I’m really sick right now, I have a lot of concerns about it.” 

During his TCC today, Zeasley was no longer afforded the opportunity to express his concerns with the court, and instead was placed in a private virtual room with his attorney, Mark Owens, to discuss the details of his case. 

During Zeasley’s readiness and settlement conference, he also voiced issues with the  inconsistency of judicial staff provided to his case. 

He charged that “every time we put time off the case, I come back and there’s a new judge who always comes up missing. Every time, we take a few weeks off and I come back and it’s always a new judge who is supposed to hear our cases and know what’s going on but that never happens.” 

On the date of this conference, Zeasley had been assisted by three different judicial officers. On his TCC today, he was on to his fourth Judge, Judge Kathleen Diesman. 

Although Zeasley’s concerns regarding judicial inconsistency and COVID safety remain unaddressed, his TCC concluded with a prompt trial date.

In accordance with both attorneys, Judge Diesman scheduled a return date for two weeks later, Aug. 24, for trial. 

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