PARK CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Attorneys for Kouri Richins, the Summit County woman accused of poisoning her husband to death with fentanyl, have asked the judge to dismiss her case, citing her inability to have a fair trial.
The petition, which can be read below in its entirety, claims the court has “engaged in prosecutorial misconduct such that a fair trial … is no longer possible.” The petition asks that:
- The Summit County Attorney’s Office should be removed from the case
- The venue be moved to Salt Lake County
- Evidence regarding the so-called “Walk the Dog Letter” should be suppressed
- Any jury should be instructed to ignore the state’s claim that Richins engaged in witness tampering.
Some of those claims are related to a document found in Richins’ cell in September that appears to instruct family members on how to testify in court. State lawyers claim the letter speaks for itself as evidence of witness tampering. Richins and her attorneys claim the letter was actually an outline for a fictional novel she was writing.
The incident has led to the court considering a “no contact order” to prevent Richins from talking to her family, an issue that will be taken up in November.
Richins’ attorneys claim that the “Walk the Dog Letter” becoming public knowledge violates a May 31 gag order imposed by the court. Her attorneys also claim the letter itself is not evidence of a crime. Furthermore, they claim that the way the state obtained the letter may constitute an illegal search of her documents.
“Here, the State has violated Ms. Richins’ due process rights by falsely and publicly declaring that she is guilty of ‘witness tampering,'” states the petition. “Making matters worse, the State attempted to support its false narrative by filing inadmissible evidence, including a police report, on the Court’s public docket.”