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Court clarifies sealed court order still applies to former Daybell attorney Mark Means

Daybell Case

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ST. ANTHONY – Lori Vallow Daybell has apparently not seen the grand jury transcript indicting her with multiple counts of murder and other crimes.

The revelation came from Daybell’s public defender Jim Archibald during a hearing Wednesday to discuss a motion by prosecutors regarding Daybell’s former attorney Mark Means. Daybell listened to the hearing by phone while in custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare after being found mentally incompetent to assist in her own defense last year.

Prosecutors requested the hearing to clarify a July 2021 sealed court order on the release of discovery information by those with access to it. Prosecutors were specifically concerned about discovery, or evidence in the case, being inappropriately discussed or shared by Means.

“There is an ongoing concern that privileged information and documents could be disclosed to third parties and or the public,” prosecutors wrote in their motion requesting the hearing. “… Former Counsel Mark Means, without discussion with co-counsel Jim Archibald, filed motions publically discussing confidential information related to Lori Vallow.”

Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake, who argued the motion, asked the court to clarify if the sealed court order still applied to Means, even though he was removed from the case last month. If it did not, the prosecution wanted to have the order expanded.

District Judge Stephen Boyce asked Blake if the prosecution was seeking a gag order against Means. Blake clarified she was not.

Archibald objected to the motion on the grounds that Means had not been notified about the hearing or allowed to speak on any changes that might be made.

“It is unfair for the court to put an order on him when he’s not a party to the case,” Archibald said.

Archibald also expressed a concern that the sealed order was broad enough to possibly prevent him from sharing discovery information with his client. Archibald explained he plans to have a copy of the grand jury transcript given to Daybell so she can see the accusations against her.

Blake clarified the state’s intention was never to prohibit the sharing of information between client and attorney.

After listening to both sides, Boyce said that based on his reading of the sealed order, the language is broad enough to already cover Means, even if he is not currently acting as Daybell’s counsel. He also said he planned to create an amended order tightening the language so there is no question the defense can share discovery with its client or other staff members of the defense team.

Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell 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.

A trial is scheduled for the couple in January 2023, but it is dependent on how long Lori Vallow Daybell remains incompetent and in the care of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.