The court heard several motions Thursday related to the triple-homicide case of Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow including a request for additional time to review evidence from Daybell and a motion from Vallow to dismiss her trial.
Motions from Lori Vallow
Motion to dismiss trial
On Thursday’s court hearing in Saint Anthony, Lori Vallow — charged with murder alongside her husband Chad Daybell — motioned to dismiss her trial.
Her attorney, Jim Archibald, cited Idaho law which states that unless a defendant waives their right to a speedy trial or good cause is found in the postponement, a trial is supposed to take place no later than six months from an arraignment.
Vallow was arraigned on three charges of first-degree murder in April 2022.
Archibald asked that the court also consider the time she has spent in jail since her arrest nearly three years ago on charges of child desertion and non-support, saying her $5 million bail at the time was a clear sign of forthcoming murder charges.
The prosecution responded that the original trial date in October was moved to January without objection from Vallow, the Court previously found good cause to postpone, and an objection to the delay to April should account for the logistics of arranging a trial in Boise at the request of Vallow. They also argued that a state statutory right to a trial within six months is not fundamental under the U.S. Constitution.
Judge Steven Boyce who presided at the hearings said he would issue a written ruling likely next week.
Motion for individual voir dire on sensitive subjects
The Court heard another motion from Vallow’s defense to individually voir dire the jury and sequester them for sensitive issues.
Prior to jury selection potential jurors are questioned by the attorneys of all parties to get an understanding of their views that could impact their decisions in the trial.
John Thomas, Vallow’s other attorney, also asked that they be allowed to ask jurors about their religious beliefs and affiliation considering the religious elements in the case and Vallow’s membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Prosecutors expressed their agreement to individually question the jurors regarding sensitive matters when they request it but stated they would otherwise ask that they be questioned in small panels.
Fremont County Prosecutor Rob Wood said the state objects to questions about a juror’s religious denomination.
Judge Boyce granted the motion to permit individual questioning if necessary but said small panels would be the primary method of jury selection. He said he would rule on specific topics for questioning later in the process.
Motion for preselection instruction to potential jurors
Judge Boyce granted the defense’s motion to instruct potential jurors on their roles and duties in a capital case. He said the court would propose instructions and allow the parties to review and propose amendments to them.
Motions from Chad Daybell
Motion to compel
Chad Daybell filed a motion on Jan. 25 for the state to hand over two samples of DNA evidence and their analyses to give to his own expert. The state handed his defense team that evidence the same day, but his attorney, John Prior, said Thursday that his DNA expert needs about 60 days to compile his report.
The Court will revisit the issue in a hearing on Feb. 23
Motion to extend time for disclosure of witnesses and expert witness reports
Prior said he disclosed his witnesses but is waiting on the opinions from his DNA expert, his forensic investigator and his GPS expert. He also said he still needs to read over 1,100 pages of documentation of lay witnesses he may need to call.
“I’m supposed to be preparing for trial that is in two months, but instead I’m going through discovery still on documents I’m just now getting,” Prior said.
Judge Boyce extended the deadline for disclosing expert witness opinions to March 13.
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow are accused of the murders of Vallow’s children Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow as well as Daybell’s first wife, Tammy. Their trial starts on April 3.