Second autopsy for doomed boy denied

2011-07-05T18:00:00Z 2013-02-19T13:05:24Z Second autopsy for doomed boy deniedBy Susan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com

CROWN POINT | Lake Criminal Court Judge Diane Boswell on Tuesday denied a defense request for a second autopsy of Christian Choate's remains.

The boy's body was found May 4 buried in a shallow grave in a Black Oak mobile home park. He is alleged to have died two years prior to the discovery.

The father and stepmother of the 13-year-old were charged last month with 13 counts related to the boy's death, including murder.

Representing the boy's father, Riley Choate, Hammond attorney Randy Godshalk had asked for an independent autopsy to aid in Choate's defense.

But Boswell rebuffed the request for now, saying without the coroner's report on the first autopsy, Godshalk had no basis to ask for a second autopsy.

That's a decision that could be revisited, she said, ordering the final report to be submitted by Friday.

Boswell also quickly dismissed Godshalk's arguments to dismiss the state's case against his client. Godshalk contended the information in the charging documents to be scant, insufficient and contrary to requirements under state law, but Boswell denied Godshalk's motion without comment.

Attorney Scott King, meanwhile, succeeded in squelching a deposition of his client, Christina Choate, as requested by Godshalk.

The bulk of Tuesday's hearing dealt with records kept by Scott Yahne, the Hammond attorney appointed to serve as guardian ad litem to Christian and Christina, his older sister, at the time their father sought custody in 2004. Yahne since has been reappointed to represent Christina, whose custody is before the juvenile court.

Faced with a subpoena from prosecutors for the records, Yahne sought guidance from the court, arguing conflicting concerns regarding their confidentiality under the law.

Boswell sought to balance those concerns by asking attorneys on each side to request documents from the detailed inventory provided by Yahne.

Boswell is then to review the requested documents before the next hearing in the case, now set for Aug. 2.

King refused to waive confidentiality in the state's request for records pertaining to Christina as held by Yahne.

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