Court: NW-Indiana panel was not impartial

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled that a Hammond city panel was not impartial when it ordered the demolition of a house city officials have deemed uninhabitable.

Wednesday's 2-1 ruling found that the city attorney's membership on the Hammond Board of Public Works and Safety undermined its impartiality because a city attorney's office employee presented the case for razing Hugo Torres' home.

After Torres filed his lawsuit, former Hammond city attorney William O'Connor was replaced on the board by Fire Chief Jeffery Smith. Torres' home has remained standing as his case works its way through the courts.

Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. tells The Times of Munster ( ) he hasn't decided if he'll ask the Indiana Supreme Court to review the appellate court's decision.

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