Tag Archives: inyo county superior 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.”


Sally Symons Pleads Guilty

Sally Ann Symons Pleads Guilty to Misappropriation of Government Funds

submitted by Inyo County District Attorney Tom Hardy

Sally Ann Symons entered a plea of guilty today to a felony violation of Penal Code section 424, misappropriation of government funds. The charge alleged that the misappropriation took place between August, 2014 and September, 2015, while Ms. Symons served as the Chief Executive Officer for the Tri-County Fairgrounds, and followed an investigation conducted by the California Highway Patrol Inland Division Investigative Services Unit.

Under the terms of an agreed disposition, Ms. Symons will be placed on five years of formal probation, and required to serve up to 270 days in the Inyo County jail as a term of that probation. The court will set the exact length of the jail term when she appears for sentencing on March 14, 2016 in Bishop. She will be ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,860.00 and will not be allowed to work in any positions allowing her to handle the money of third parties without the permission of her probation officer. She will also be required to stay off of the premises of the Tri-County Fair during the term of her probation. The Court will also have discretion to set fines and fees. By law, she will be forbidden from holding any public office in the future. Under the terms of the disposition, Ms. Symons will not be allowed to participate in electronic monitoring.

Sentencing will take place on March 14, 2016 at 1:00 p.m. at the Bishop Branch of the Inyo County Superior Court.

inyo county court news, tri-county fair, inyo county superior court, inyo county district attorney tom hardy