Canyon County

This local highway commissioner is still in jail. Now, his board seeks his resignation

Canyon Highway District Commissioner John McEvoy
Canyon Highway District Commissioner John McEvoy Canyon County jail

The Canyon Highway District No. 4 voted on Tuesday to request that Commissioner John McEvoy, who is in jail, resign from his seat.

The 71-year-old Canyon County elected official has been in jail since May 3 after he violated his probation in a misdemeanor case involving his problematic property on North Kcid Road. In the criminal case, Magistrate Judge Jerold Lee imposed 155 days in jail for the probation violation.

McEvoy is one of three commissioners serving on Canyon Highway District No. 4, a board that meets every two weeks. Canyon Highway District Director Dave Jones said the remaining commissioners, Jay Gibbons and Rick Youngblood, requested at the Tuesday meeting that staff draft a letter to send to McEvoy requesting his resignation. Should McEvoy voluntarily resign, the commission would appoint a replacement to serve out the rest of his term.

Jones told the Idaho Statesman on Wednesday that he’s unclear on how promptly McEvoy may respond, because communicating with him is challenging while he is incarcerated.

While McEvoy is incarcerated, he has been unable to attend and vote in the public meetings. McEvoy’s term is valid until 2021, as he was last re-elected in 2017.

McEvoy, who is in his fourth term with the Canyon Highway District, has faced civil litigation and criminal prosecution for failing to maintain his property in compliance with Canyon County zoning and ordinances.

On top of his criminal case, Third Judicial District Judge Bradly Ford sentenced McEvoy on May 9 to five days in jail, but suspended those days, after he was found guilty in March of failing to clean up his junkyard on North Kcid Road. He was found guilty of criminal contempt for willfully violating a court order.

Ford sentenced McEvoy in connection to a lawsuit filed by his neighbors, but by that time, McEvoy was already in custody for a probation violation in the criminal case that’s also related to his Caldwell property.

The property McEvoy owns is more than 100 acres and has been the subject of several investigations. Canyon County authorities say the property is home to 75 to 125 abandoned vehicles, roughly 1,000 tires, and a variety of trailers, debris and trash. After McEvoy’s neighbor’s sued him, there was an agreement in 2017 that he would bring the property into compliance within 18 months. The agreement was that if McEvoy could clean up the property within 18 months, he would avoid having to pay $100,000. He has since paid the $100,000.

Ford found that McEvoy failed to make a good faith effort to comply with Canyon County’s property laws and the court’s orders.

McEvoy’s attorney in the criminal case filed a motion with Judge Lee, requesting that McEvoy be granted work release or house arrest, rather than being kept in custody at the jail. McEvoy was granted a furlough until June 20, the date of his next court appearance.

He was still in custody at the Canyon County jail Wednesday morning.

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Reporter Ruth Brown covers the criminal justice and correctional systems in Idaho. She focuses on breaking news, public safety and social justice. Prior to coming to the Idaho Statesman, she was a reporter at the Idaho Press-Tribune, the Bakersfield Californian and the Idaho Falls Post Register.