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Indiana Supreme Court justices

The justices of the Indiana Supreme Court are, from left, Mark Massa; Steven David; Chief Justice Loretta Rush; Christopher Goff; and Geoffrey Slaughter, a Crown Point native.

INDIANAPOLIS — A divided Indiana Supreme Court has turned away Cedar Lake's request to overturn two lower court rulings that blocked the town from annexing some 2,800 acres of land along the U.S. 41 corridor in south Lake County.

The five justices on the state's high court, as is their custom, did not explain why they denied the town's petition to transfer jurisdiction of the case to the Supreme Court. 

The request for transfer followed an Oct. 11, 2017, decision against the town by a unanimous three-judge Indiana Court of Appeals panel, and the initial Feb. 21, 2017, ruling by Lake Superior Judge Calvin Hawkins halting the proposed annexation.

The lower courts concluded that the town failed to demonstrate, as required by law, that the annexation territory was "needed and can be used by the municipality for its development in the reasonably near future."

Court records indicate the town sought to annex land between 137th and 173rd streets to ensure planned development tied to the Illiana Expressway, South Shore Line expansion, Peotone, Illinois, airport and other projects that the appeals court deemed "more in the realm of speculation than reality."

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush said the Supreme Court justices reviewed the Court of Appeals decision as well as all the filings in the case, discussed the matter in conference and ultimately voted 3-2 to deny the petition for transfer.

A footnote on the court's order denying transfer indicates that Rush, a onetime Munster resident, and Justice Geoffrey Slaughter, a Crown Point native, supported the town's transfer petition.

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Statehouse Bureau Chief

Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.