Tag Archives: Inyo county court

Bishop Courthouse Location Sparks Controversy

Bishop could be receiving a new courthouse, which would give the Inyo County Superior Court, two locations. However, the move to add another courthouse has not come without opposition.


The State of California says there is a big need for a new location in North Inyo County, which has a higher population than the southern portion of the county. “The Superior Court of Inyo County provides court services from two locations. In Bishop, the court operates out of the former Municipal Court, located inside City Hall, which is leased from the City of Bishop. Sixty percent of the population lives in this northern part of the county; seventy-five percent of court filings originate from this area.”

With the high number of legal filings occurring in the Bishop Area, the members of the California Judicial Council think it would be wise to build another location to handle proceedings. “Due to space and personnel constraints, the clerk’s office has a limited capacity to handle these filings. Consequently, the majority of criminal, civil, family, probate, and juvenile cases must be filed at the historic courthouse in Independence, 40 miles south.”


The new municipal center would have two courtrooms and would measure 21,015 square feet.


Bishop’s potential courthouse currently has an authorized project budget equating to $24,204,000. At this time, however, the idea of a new location has been put on hold due to a lack of funding.


With that being said, the state’s plan is for construction to be completed by 2022.


Pertaining to the new courthouse, California’s Judicial Council is in the site acquisition phase. However, it appears as though the council likes the idea of having the courthouse adjacent to City Hall because it will allow for all governmental functions to be situated at the epicenter of town.


One problem is that a parking lot currently exists at the potential site, which allows for patrons to shop at nearby stores in an area that has limited parking to begin with.


Bishop resident, Chuck Kilpatrick along with Justin Snyder, the Manager of The Toggery, expressed their displeasure with the idea of a courthouse being situated next to City Hall at Monday’s Bishop City Council Meeting. Both cited that there would be a lack of parking, which would end up hurting local business because customers would have nowhere to park.

Snyder said, “We are hopeful the city will balance the interest of downtown local business with government buildings. My opinion is that I think it will end up hurting businesses like The Toggery. We rely on tourism and holidays for our business, and if tourists have no place to park, then we lose business.”

Bishop Mayor, Laura Smith, said she believes that a new courthouse would not be detrimental to businesses. “There will be more people in the area if a courthouse is built, which will increase economic activity because people will eat and shop nearby.”

Smith unequivocally added that they will not subtract any of the parking spaces. “I am fully convinced we would not lose any of the parking spaces, and would be able to utilize some of the existing space currently not being used for parking.”


Fugitive or mistaken identity

Fresno Woman released on bail

By Arnie Palu

A Fresno woman says its a case of mistaken identity, Inyo County officials say she’s a fugitive from justice.

According to KFSN (Fresno) Melissa Neylon a life insurance agent out of Fresno was getting a tour of the Inyo County Jail when deputies arrested her for an outstanding warrant. According to KFSN Neylon was going through security when she was flagged as a wanted felon as her fingerprints matched a warrant for a Melissa Chapman, who has been wanted by law enforcement since 2002 for identity theft.

According to Carma Roper, Inyo County Sheriffs department spokesperson, Neylon appeared in Inyo County Court Friday, December 18th and the Judge ruled that Neylon was a fugitive from justice, ruling the warrant was valid. The Judge did reduce bail to $50,000. Neylon posted bail and has been released from custody, but she is scheduled to appear back in Inyo County Court on January 13th.

Update (2:05 pm Tuesday, Dec 22)
KFSN is now reporting that a Prosecutor in Indian is indicating that Neylon is NOT a match to Chapman’s fingerprints.

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Jury Trial ends with conviction

Inyo Jury Finds Chavez Guilty

Inyo County District Attorney Tom Hardy is announcing an Inyo County Jury has found Tashina Chavez Guilty of assault. According to Hardy, the jury found Bishop area resident Tashina Chavez guilty of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and battery causing serious bodily injury. The jury also found to be “true” a special allegation that Ms. Chavez personally inflicted great bodily injury. The verdicts followed a four day jury trial that commenced on June 8, 2015. The offense occurred on June 9, 2014. The case is now set for sentencing in Independence on July 7, 2015. Chavez is facing up to seven years in state prison. Hardy notes that the case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Michael Turner following an investigation by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.

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