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Vocal opponent of mask rules arrested

Courtney Evans was booked and released with a court hearing in August.

Courtney Evans, a Hollister resident facing a bench warrant for failing to appear for her court hearings, was arrested on June 8 outside the San Benito County Administration Building before the Board of Supervisors meeting. She was booked and released with a hearing scheduled for Aug. 10 at 8:30 a.m.

Facing charges of trespassing and resisting arrest that date back to December, Evans in March sought to attend her hearings in person but was not allowed to enter the courtroom because she refused to wear a mask. She also refused to attend her hearings remotely.

Capt. Eric Taylor told BenitoLink that Evans was offered to sign a citation when she was approached by deputies, which would have resulted in a new court date. After refusing to sign it and requesting to be taken before a judge, she was arrested and transported to county jail.

“The warrant was ‘OR-able,’ meaning she could be released on her own recognizance.” Taylor said. He added that if she fails to appear again her warrant might not be “OR-able” again. 

Evans told BenitoLink she had gone to the supervisors meeting with her daughter, a high school student, because her daughter wanted to be involved in local politics. 

“I was going to sit outside if I was not allowed in,” Evans said. “My daughter wanted to go. She has a written medical exemption from a licensed physician that the county ignored. They did not let her in to speak.”

Evans said when she requested to see a judge, she was notified that the judge had denied her request. She said she was not told which judge denied her request and that the warrant directs officers to take an individual to any judge in the county.

Evans’ daughter, Peyton, called in to the meeting to speak about her mother’s arrest but was cut off as she called during the consent agenda public comment rather than the public comment intended to be about items not on the agenda. This section normally occurs before supervisors begin discussing agenda items. 

Evans also was supported by her ex-husband, Chris Evans, who attended the meeting in person. He said, though, he has disagreed with Courtney on many issues including how she has approached her opposition to COVID-19 public health guidelines. Despite her approach, he said she speaks for a lot of people who don’t feel like voicing their opinion. 

“Your guys’ job is not to be that heavy hammer. People have to have a choice,” Chris said. 

Evans also called in to the meeting demanding the Board of Supervisors terminate the local health emergency and to pass an resolution denouncing any requirement of vaccine verification. 

“I’m tired of our board not representing the people. Shame on you,” Evans said. “Stand for the law. Stand for your oath of the constitution.”

Taylor said for minor warrants such as Evans’, the Sheriff’s Office waits to contact the persons in public rather than going to their residence or place of work as they are not a threat to public safety. He said the process was the same for other residents facing the same warrant and she was not facing new charges. 

Courtney Evans has vocally opposed the state’s requirement to wear masks. San Benito County Superior Court Judge Patrick Palacios issued a bench warrant for her arrest on March 30 with bail set at $6,000 after not appearing at three of her hearings. Evans did appear to court for her hearings, however, she was not allowed to enter without a mask. 

She was first arrested on Dec. 15 on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest at the Board of Supervisors chambers.

 

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Noe Magaña

Noe Magaña is a BenitoLink reporter. He also experiments with videography and photography. 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 also was a reporter and later a copy editor for San Jose State's Spartan Daily.