Friday, January 24, 2014
Ind. Gov't. - More on "Lawsuit challenges Porter County Council redistricting"
A LaPorte County Circuit judge ruled Thursday that the Porter County Board of Commissioners will have to remove a noncontiguous “bubble” within recently redrawn council districts, but County Councilman Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd District, who filed a lawsuit over the redistricting, will remain in District 4 under the new boundaries.
Judge Tom Alevizos did rule, however, that Rivas could continue with his civil rights claim that the redistricting was done to purposefully force him out of his district.
“It’s not exactly what we were asking for, but we are pleased with the result,” said Crown Point attorney Edward Hearn, who represented Rivas and a handful of Porter County residents in the suit.
The suit had asked Alevizos to either invalidate the new council districts, which commissioners passed on Dec. 17, or put off the May primary so there would be time to redraw the boundaries.
Alevizos ordered commissioners to fix what was referred to in court as a “bubble,” a tiny portion of District 2 surrounded by District 1. Two people live in the portion of Westchester Township Precinct 17 in that parcel.
According to the judge’s ruling, that parcel was inadvertently created when precinct maps were redrawn at the end of 2011. It still must be fixed because state statute calls for council districts to be contiguous; commissioners will hold a meeting next week to put the precinct completely in District 1.