ST ANTHONY, Idaho (ABC4) — A judge said he will issue a decision on March 22 on three separate motions discussed Wednesday in the Lori Vallow Daybell case.
Daybell was charged with the alleged murder of her two children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. She was also charged with conspiring with her husband, Chad Daybell, to murder his first wife, Tammy.
Motion to dismiss the death penalty
Daybell motioned to dismiss the death penalty on March 5, and according to East Idaho News, her attorneys Jim Archibald and John Thomas discussed it with Judge Steven Boyce in person on Wednesday, March 15.
Archibald argued that the death penalty should be dismissed against Daybell “due to the cumulative of errors.” He then listed some reasons he believes the death penalty should be dismissed against Daybell, East Idaho News reported.
“Media saturation, multiple violations by the government, the government’s knowledge of my client’s mental health,” Archibald said. “And the practical standpoint that Idaho has been trying to kill people on death row and hasn’t been able to do it because the Idaho Department of Corrections can’t get chemicals to kill people.”
According to East Idaho News, Archibald also said that because they have received so much evidence so close to the trial, his mitigation specialist cannot do her job adequately. According to Hofstra Law Review, a mitigation specialist gathers detailed background material about the defendant in order to persuade a jury not to impose the death penalty.
“We don’t have time between now and trial to review 3,000 phone calls (and) almost 5,000 pages that were dumped on us late on Feb. 27. Our mitigation specialist, who has worked on death penalty cases for almost 40 years, says this is a problem,” Archibald said. “This is going to be a disaster on appeal because right now, me and Mr. Thomas are telling the court there are not enough hours between now and the trial to review this evidence.”
Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake reportedly said the motion to dismiss the death penalty is “premature” as a trial has not been held, and Daybell has not been sentenced.
“The defense is merely attempting to make unsupported arguments regarding the potential method in which a capital sentence may – or would – be carried out, assuming she is given a capital sentence,” Blake said, according to East Idaho News.
Motion to exclude late-disclosed evidence
Daybell filed a motion “in limine” to exclude late-disclosed evidence on March 5, including an alleged opinion of the government that said Daybell was evil. In limine means any motion regarding the admissibility of evidence brought up at a pretrial hearing, New Webster Dictionary stated.
The motion stated that in Court’s Scheduling Order, it stated that all discovery must be completed prior to Feb. 27. However, on Feb. 27, the State of Idaho filed a Supplemental Discovery Disclosure, which was 4,933 pages, and included over 30 hours of interviews.
Daybell’s attorneys discussed the motion with Boyce and asked him to exclude any evidence prosecutors disclosed to them on Feb. 27 at 4:07 p.m.
“To dump 5,000 pages on us on Feb. 27, hours of videos and audio recordings, and another 3,000 phone calls two days ago, it’s just really disappointing that we had to wait this long to get all the discovery,” Archibald said, according to East Idaho News.
Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood said that the amount of evidence in the case is “voluminous” and that many of the reports in that filing were given to Daybell’s attorneys in August of 2021, but at that time Mark Means was Daybell’s attorney, not Archibald or Thomas. Additionally, Wood said he believed this filing was made on time.
“We do not believe it was a late disclosure. We believe Feb. 27 was the deadline. The state has always endeavored to disclose what we have,” Wood said, according to East Idaho News.
Motion to compel
The third motion they discussed in Court Wednesday, according to East Idaho News, was Daybell’s motion to compel. In this motion, Daybell’s attorneys asked prosecutors to turn over all written and recorded statements made by Chad while in custody.
“Obviously we are very close to the commencement of trial in this so we have limited time to get through these,” Thomas said.
Thomas said that on Monday, they did receive approximately 3,000 phone calls and recordings of five in-custody visits including Chad. Thomas did not specify who Chad was speaking with in the calls or visits.
Boyce followed up on the motion and asked if the prosecutors were confident that all previously recorded conversations were turned over to Daybell’s attorneys, Blake said yes.
“Part of the issue is this is an ongoing matter,” Blake said, referring to the fact that Chad remains in the Fremont County Jail and continues to make phone calls, East Idaho News reported.
Boyce said he would take each of the motions under advisement and issue decisions on them Wednesday, March 22, he announced in the meeting Wednesday.
He expressed concerns that these issues are being dealt with so close to the trial, “but there is where we find ourselves,” Boyce said, according to East Idaho News.