Hollister face mask opponent opts to hire attorney

Court sets Aug. 17 date for Courtney Evans to identify counsel in her trespassing and resisting arrest trial.

A Hollister woman known for defying face mask orders in government venues is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 17 to identify an attorney after discussing her options with Superior Court Judge Patrick Palacios. Courtney Evans previously said she intended to represent herself but is now considering retaining an attorney.

Evans faces up to 455 days in jail and up to $1,400 in fines on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest at the San Benito County Board of Supervisors chambers in December

Evans, 38, who owns Kamal Yoga Studio, has publicly criticized the state of California, the Hollister City Council and county supervisors for pandemic responses such as requiring masks and closing businesses. Evans entered the supervisors chambers without a mask prior to an open meeting. She was asked to leave the chambers by sheriff’s deputies and subsequently arrested. 

Her most recent complaint is that she can’t easily represent herself in court.

“I feel I was pressured by courts to get an attorney,” Evans told BenitoLink. “I don’t feel I was treated fairly.”

Evans asked the court to recognize her as the attorney of record at the Aug. 10 hearing. Evans also asked Palacios if there was a cutoff point where she could change her mind and hire an attorney or co-counsel. Palacios said it was based on circumstances and added that one reason the court could deny a late request for an attorney to represent her was if it were made right before a trial to prolong the process, or if the court felt a defendant was “playing games” with the court. 

Palacios warned Evans that if she opted to represent herself, she was expected to know the laws pertaining to her case and procedures of the court. The judge said she would not be “given a break” due to any lack of experience in court. 

After Evans returned her waiver of right to counsel, Palacios directed her to also fill the education history portion of the form.

After Evans said she wasn’t willing to give out personal information about her education, Palacios warned her that without that data he could not make an informed decision about whether she was qualified to represent herself in court.

Evans told BenitoLink that Palacios did not confirm that the court received any documents she had submitted. According to court documents, she submitted seven documents on July 8 including a demand for jury trial, a motion of a speedy trial and a request to the public law library. 

“I still stand by that I didn’t do anything wrong,” Evans told BenitoLink.


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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is BenitoLink Co-Editor and Content Manager. He joined BenitoLink as reporter intern and was soon brought on staff as a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. He is a San Benito High School alumnus with a bachelor's in journalism from San Jose State and a Liberal Arts Associate's Degree from Gavilan College. Noe also attended San Jose City College and was the managing editor for the City College Times, the school's newspaper. He was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily. He is a USC Center for Health Journalism 2020 California Fellow.