Holly Blair arraignment delayed to July 25. Judge issues pair of protective orders

By Ed Martin, Editor
Councilmember Holly Blair
Councilmember Holly Blair
Gary Feinstein/Feinsteinfotos

Lemoore’s first-term council member, Holly Blair, was late to her court date today (July 5) for her arraignment – and without an attorney – as she faces a slew of felony and misdemeanor charges stemming from the June 5 incident that resulted in a high-speed chase and ended with her arrest at the intersection of Lemoore Avenue and Cinnamon Drive.

Blair ultimately was charged with three felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon (her vehicle) and one count of evading a police officer. She was also charged with three misdemeanors – placing a minor child in a situation that his or her person and health may be endangered, unlawfully resisting, delaying and obstruction a Lemoore police officer attempting to discharge his or her duty, and reckless driving.

The court continued Blair’s arraignment until July 25 at 8:15 a.m. in Kings County Superior Court, Department 9. The extension allows Blair to obtain legal representation. Recently, the law firm of Melo and Sarsfield, LLP, a Visalia law firm, represented her, but according to sources they are no longer handling her case.

In the meantime, Kings County Judge Michael Reinhart, issued a pair of criminal protective orders (restraining orders) mandating that Blair stay at least 100 yards away from the Lemoore Police Department. The second order mandates that Blair stay clear of a Lemoore mother – and daughter – both near victims in the June 5 incident when Blair drove her vehicle at high speed through the Lemoore Police Department’s back lot.

Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes said the protective orders take place immediately and can be extended if needed. “She’s on notice, and it’s in place until the case is resolved,” he said. “The Judge can issue one longer – up to 10 years or not do one at all.”

The delay of her arraignment is not unusual. “She’s not getting any special treatment. It’s standard procedure,” said Fagundes.

It was approximately 2:14 p.m. On June 5 that Blair, driving a red SUV at a high rate of speed, pulled into the Lemoore Police Department’s rear parking area and sped through the parking lot where a group of police officers and citizens were participating in an effort to highlight the importance of mental health awareness in law enforcement.

Blair, with a minor child and a pet dog in the back seat, made an abrupt U-turn in the eastern portion of the compound and, again, driving at a high rate of speed, headed for the entrance. According to Lemoore Police Chief Darrel Smith, Lemoore officers and other local law enforcement officers yelled at her repeatedly to stop, and she refused to do so.

Police say Blair narrowly missed striking a civilian and her three children. Blair, according to witnesses, left the parking lot, entered Cinnamon Street followed by police officers. She failed to stop at intersections, and police arrested her at Lemoore Avenue. Officers were forced to remove her from her vehicle.

Blair spent one night in jail (June 5) before being released on $195,000 bail.

Blair has a problematic history with the City of Lemoore after winning her council seat in 2016.  Her controversial behavior as a council member prompted her fellow council members to censure her in August 2018.

Earlier this year, her fellow council members and city officials attempted to seek a restraining order against the first-term council member but failed in the attempt when Kings County Superior Court Judge Kathy Ciuffini denied the city’s restraining order and instead referred the two sides to mediation.

Later, council members agreed to a “Compromise and Release Agreement” with Blair that cost the city nearly $100,000. The agreement included paying Blair’s legal fees – about $38,000.

Blair has not attended a Lemoore City Council meeting since May 7 when she missed the study session but participated at the regular 7:30 p.m. meeting.

Holly Blair arraignment delayed to July 25. Judge issues pair of protective orders

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