Former council member, in Kings Jail since July, transferred to state facility

By Ed Martin, Editor
Holly Blair
Holly Blair

Former Lemoore Councilmember Holly Blair was transported today (Jan. 9) from the Kings County Jail to a state hospital or facility, where according to Kings County law enforcement officials, she'll receive competency training and treatment designed to regain competency to stand trial in Kings County Superior Court.

Kings County Sheriff David Robinson confirmed that Blair was transported today for an evaluation by a state hospital or like facility but could not confirm the location, citing privacy or security concerns.

Superior Court Judge Randy Edwards found Blair mentally incapable of standing trial. A psychiatrist's report concluded that the former council member was unable to assist her counsel with a proper defense, which prompted the appointment of a community program director to decide whether Blair be placed as an outpatient or undergo inpatient mental health treatment.

Blair, who has been in the Kings County Jail since July, has been waiting to be transferred to a facility to regain competency.

"Ms. Blair will be sent to a state hospital. We're not sure exactly which one," said Kings County Assistant District Attorney Phil Esbenshade. "Once she is there, we'll receive a progress report in three months, and six months thereafter, until she retains competency. So, she'll undergo competency training and treatment. Usually, the report will come back I would say in three months."

Once Blair regains competency, the former council member could be tried. "They would notify us and the court, and the criminal proceedings would be reinstated. But she would have an opportunity to have a hearing prior to that, and that just continues, the six-month reviews, until she does or does not regain competency."

Judge Edwards also ordered during her Sept. 25 hearing that Blair, while in jail, be required to take medication. Kings County prosecutors say that the ultimate goal is to place Blair in a position so that she can stand trial. Felony defendants found incompetent by a court are often placed in a state hospital where the focus of treatment is to stabilize their condition and establish trial competency.

In July, the Lemoore City Council removed Blair from her elected seat due to non-attendance.  She faced several charges stemming from a pair of June and July incidents. Her latest arrest occurred on July 6 when she was charged with spousal battery and felony criminal threats. According to Lemoore police reports, on July 6 at about 2 p.m., police responded to Blair's home. They arrested her on suspicion of making threats, domestic violence, and committing a felony while out on bail. Bail was set at $85,000.

She was initially arrested on June 5 on suspicion of evading a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon, reckless driving, child endangerment, and resisting arrest. The charges stemmed from an afternoon incident during a ceremony in the Lemoore Police Department's back lot when Blair pulled into the lot at a high rate of speed, drove to the end of the lot, turned around and raced back, leaving the lot and prompting a high speed chase that ended with her arrest at the West Cinnamon and North Lemoore Avenue intersection.

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