EastIdahoNews

Lori Daybell's attorney says she should be given a cellphone so they can communicate

By Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews | Posted - Jan. 26, 2021 at 8:04 a.m.


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REXBURG, Idaho — Lori Vallow Daybell's attorney wants his client to be given a cellphone so they can communicate with each other, and he's asking that jail video cameras be turned off whenever the two meet face to face.

Attorney Mark Means filed a motion in Fremont County on Jan. 19 regarding attorney-client privilege communication.

Daybell has been in the Madison County Jail since March 2020. She is charged with two felonies related to the concealment, alteration and destruction of evidence regarding two of her children, 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. Authorities found the Tylee and JJ's bodies buried on the property of her husband Chad in June.

In the motion, Means argues that he could not meet face to face with Daybell in an attorney-client room from March until June. Over the past nine months, the Madison County Jail and other facilities in Idaho have implemented restrictions on visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Means says from March 30 to June 9, he was only permitted to communicate with Daybell on the telephone.

"My client is allowed to speak with counsel through two telephone options. One telephone is at the desk of the deputy and my client is handcuffed to said desk approximately two feet from the ear of a deputy," Means wrote. "The other option is through a recorded line (Telemate) approximately 15 to 20 feet from said deputy/deputy clerk."

Means raised concerns that Telemate calls might be recorded. In an affidavit filed last March, Lt. Jared Willmore of the Madison County Sheriff's Office confirmed two calls were accidentally recorded on March 31 and deleted. One call lasted a minute while another lasted nearly a half-hour, Willmore said.

Mark Means appears in court with Lori Vallow Daybell during a March 2020 hearing.
Mark Means appears in court with Lori Vallow Daybell during a March 2020 hearing. (Photo: John Roark, Pool photo)

Beginning in June, Means met face to face with Daybell but he says on Jan. 5, he arrived at the jail and was denied access to the attorney-client room.

"The only option (was) to converse with Defendant through the 'public' room and metal corded telephone, again with two video cameras videotaping these privilege meetings," Means wrote. "The past and current circumstances the defense is forced, arbitrarily, to deal with in preparation for trial are unfair."

Means asks Judge Steven Boyce to grant him uninterrupted, face-to-face meeting time with Daybell as needed. He also requests a cellphone for Daybell that she can only use to communicate with Means, and he asks the jail "be ordered to shut off video recordings (and) other recording device(s) during privilege communication."

A hearing on the motion has not been set.

On March 22, Means and John Prior, the attorney for Chad Daybell, will go before Boyce and argue that charges should be dismissed against their clients and the trial venue should be moved from Fremont County.

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Nate Eaton

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