Hearing to address alleged misconduct by prosecutor in Daybell case closed to public
ST. ANTHONY — A hearing regarding accusations of prosecutorial misconduct in the Chad and Lori Daybell case will be closed to the public Friday.
The hearing deals with accusations made by Lori’s attorney Marks Means and Chad’s attorney John Prior against Prosecutor Rob Wood. Wood is the Madison County Prosecuting Attorney and is serving as a Special Prosecutor in Fremont County’s case against Chad and Lori.
In a joint motion to disqualify filed Tuesday, Means and Prior accuse Wood of allegedly trying to “coerce, unduly influence, coach, and or intimidate” Lori’s sister Summer Shiflet during an October meeting in Arizona. Around the same time, he is also alleged to have been inappropriately discussing the case with Lori’s sister-in-law Zulema Pastenes. The accusations are related to audio recordings with both of the women that were given to the defense attorneys.
On Wednesday, Wood denied all of the allegations against him and requested an expedited hearing to clear up the situation. Wood affirmed Shiflet and Pastenes’s own legal counsel was with them the entire time, and no objections were made to his questioning.
The hearing on the misconduct allegations are scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday but includes the annotation “CLOSED HEARING,” according to Idaho’s online court portal. At the moment, the audio recordings that are at the center of the issue have not been made public.
In another document, Wood asked District Judge Steven Boyce for a temporary judicial protection order that would prevent the parties, witnesses, potential witnesses, victims, victim/witness coordinators, law enforcement officers and court personnel from discussing the motions to disqualify or the related audio on social media or with news media. The requested protection order also asks that correspondence or communications between parties not be given to news media or posted on social media.
Late Thursday, District Judge Steven Boyce ordered an affidavit filed Wednesday be sealed and that “any further proposed affidavits or exhibits in support of the joint motions to disqualify be SEALED until further order of this court.”
In his order, Boyce wrote, that the parties’ privacy interests and right to fair trial outweigh the public interest related to the affidavit.
It’s not exactly clear as to what will happen at Friday’s hearing or if the outcome will be immediately shared with the public.
The Daybells are charged with felonies related to the concealment, alteration and destruction of the bodies of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, Lori’s two children. In June, investigators found the bodies buried on Chad’s Salem property.