Wednesday morning, District Judge Steven Boyce heard arguments from the the attorneys representing both Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell as well as the prosecution. Two subjects were up for discussion: a motion to compel and a motion for an order directing attorney client privilege communications.
The motion to compel hearing for Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell:
On December 17, 2020, Mark Means (Vallow's attorney) filed a specific request of discovery pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 16. In this request, the defense asks the following of the prosecution:
List of all person(s), witness(es), potential witness(es), person(s) of knowledge, or the like, that you, Special Prosecuting Attorney Mr. Robert Wood, have spoken (conversed with) with regarding this case.
The request lists 27 people, or groups of people, in particular.
During the hearing Wednesday, Mark Means said Wood has made himself a witness in the case through the way in which he's spoken to potential witnesses, and has refused to respond or issue an objection.
The state had 14 days (unless there was good cause for a delay) to file an objection to the request which it failed to do. However, the state did file an objection, but did so on January 8, 2021.
Rob Wood stated there was good cause for the delay in filing the objection saying the motion to compel in itself is improper and illegal. However, Judge Boyce said that would not fall under good cause for the prosecution's lack of timeliness in responding.
John Prior (Daybell's attorney) was allowed to interject on the matter. He stated the prosecution's slow response to the motion may be attempt to sandbag the defense, or be done to not give the defense teams enough time to prepare for the trial which begins in July.
Rob Wood had a final response. He said, "This idea is ridiculous. It’s repugnant."
Judge Boyce then made a ruling on the motion. He said the objection was not filed timely and that there are concerns about the objections. He granted in favor of the motion in terms of requiring the state to provide a response as to whether the prosecution has discussed the case with the list of people provided by the defense as well as a summary of what was discussed.
The disclosure of these possible interactions between the state and potential witnesses in the case must be made in 14 days.
The motion for an order directing attorney client privilege communications hearing for Lori Vallow Daybell:
On January 19, Mark Means submitted the order directing attorney client privilege communications. In court documents Lori Vallow requests the following:
1. Defense Counsel, Defense Counsel Assistant(s) and any of Defense Counsel Experts be admitted to meet with Defendant uninterrupted, face to face as deemed necessary by Counsel/Defendant;
2. Detention Center be ordered to shut off video recordings any other recording device(s) during privilege communications; and
3. That, at expense of Defendant, Defendant be provided a cellular telephone that is limited in its access to Defense Counsel;
4. Finally, this matter be set for hearing forth with to prevent further delays in defending this matter.
Wednesday, in his opening argument, Means said Vallow has been in jail 12 months, they have been denied in-person meetings (for the most part) for nearly 6 months due to COVID restrictions. He also notes that the phone calls between him and his client have been recorded in the past. All this, he said, is not in good faith of the fairness requirements. He requests that cameras be turned off in the jail when meeting with his client, that he and his client have access to the attorney-client room to meet in-person, and that she be given a cell phone to have access to her attorney.
Prosecutor Wood then responded. He said the state does not object to meeting Vallow and Means meeting in-person. He said jail can draw virtual black boxes around people on security cameras as a way to prevent outside persons from reading lips. However, he did object to turning cameras off in the jail. The state also objected to giving Vallow a cell phone stating, "Giving one inmate a cell phone is not a slippery slope, you’re jumping off a cliff."
Judge Boyce then made his ruling on this motion. He didn't object to use of the attorney-client room. He ruled Vallow and Means are allowed to use the room; it should be made available for Means when he travels to the jail. The judge did not make an order for the cameras be turned off. He denied the request for a cell phone.
Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell are both facing felony charges in the case of her deceased children.
The hearing in its entirety is attached to this article for you to watch.