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ST. ANTHONY — Prosecutors are strongly refuting claims made by Lori Vallow Daybell's defense attorney and are asking a judge to issue sanctions against him.
In a response filed Wednesday, Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood and Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake claim a motion submitted by Mark Means last month contains several false statements. They argue it would be inappropriate and unethical if Means continues to serve as Daybell's attorney because of his previous representation of her husband and codefendant Chad Daybell.
"Mr. Means in the motion has crossed the line of zealous advocacy and entered into the arena of rank accusation," prosecutors wrote.
Lori Daybell has been in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare since being found incompetent for trial. In his motion, Means alleged she and an Idaho Department of Health and Welfare clinician watched Chad Daybell's change of venue hearing in October. Means says at some point the clinician recommended Lori Daybell contact attorneys with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and possibly obtain legal counsel other than her state-appointed public defender Jim Archibald.
Means wrote Lori Daybell contacted church attorney Daniel McConkie, who in turn reached out to Wood.
In their response, prosecutors said Wood spoke with an attorney from the church for approximately one minute and it was not McConkie. Wood said he then immediately contacted Archibald about the phone call. Archibald did not co-sign the motion filed by Means even though both attorneys represent Lori Daybell.
"Mr. Means has relied on spurious facts, hearsay, and possible violations of his own client's rights to make the allegations," prosecutors wrote in their response. "The state requests that counsel Means be sanctioned by the court ordering all motions filed on behalf of defendant Lori Vallow/Daybell be signed by both counsel for the defendant until such time as the defendant is deemed competent."
Wood and Blake wrote they have no incriminating statements made by Daybell to McConkie and all other comments have already been turned over to the defense. Prosecutors said Means could find out what she and McConkie spoke about by asking Daybell herself.
Prosecutors asked District Judge Steven Boyce to issue other sanctions he deems appropriate against Means as they believe the privately retained attorney is acting irresponsibly.
"The public manner in which Mr. Means requests this outlined material is concerning as it appears he intends to publicize statements he believes were made by his client," prosecutors wrote. "At this time the defendant Lori Vallow/Daybell is deemed by the Court incompetent and cannot make an informed consent to her private statements being made public."
Wood and Blake call it concerning that if Daybell made incriminating statements, Means wants information open to the public and not sealed.
"The potential harm for Vallow/Daybell from publicizing such statements is high and could also be extremely harmful to Mr. Means' former client Chad Daybell," prosecutors said. "It is noteworthy that Vallow/Daybell's court-appointed, death-sentence qualified public defender has not joined in this motion."
Also summed up in their filing, Wood and Blake wrote Means can not have the IDHW disqualified from treating Daybell, as Means requested. Prosecutors point out that Means filed the motion under penalty of perjury and made himself a witness to all accusations he made.
The Daybells are charged with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder. The charges are in relation to the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — two of Lori's kids — and Chad's first wife, Tammy Daybell.