Lori Vallow Daybell's attorneys want cameras banned from courtroom - East Idaho News
Daybell Case

Lori Vallow Daybell’s attorneys want cameras banned from courtroom

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Lori Vallow Daybell sits by her defense attorneys John Thomas, left, and Jim Archibald, right, during a hearing Aug. 16. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo

ST. ANTHONY — Lori Vallow Daybell’s attorneys want cameras banned from upcoming court hearings, claiming the media has “abused” their privilege to photograph and video proceedings.

In a motion filed Tuesday, Jim Archibald and John Thomas reference Daybell’s Aug. 16 hearing. Court TV acted as a pool camera and provided a video feed for media outlets across the country.

A remote video camera was set up in the jury box with another remote video camera installed in front of the defense’s table. EastIdahoNews.com had a still photographer taking pictures from the jury box.

Judge Steven Boyce approved the camera requests, and media outlets in the courtroom followed rules set out in an April 14 order governing courtroom conduct.

“Unbeknownst to defense counsel, Court TV and/or another media outlet set up a remote camera a few feet in front of the defendant’s desk, and put microphones on the defendant’s desk,” the defense’s motion says. “The cameras zoomed in repeatedly on the defendant while she was listening to the arguments of counsel and while she was trying to convene with counsel.”

The defense argues that the zoom on Daybell’s face “was so close that the obvious intent of the filming was not to listen to the arguments of counsel, but to gauge every facial expression of the defendant or her lawyers.”

Daybell’s attorneys say they are unsure if conversations between them and their client were recorded and write that if notes had been written between them, the camera could have zoomed in – violating attorney-client privilege.

A review of video from the hearing shows no confidential conversations were broadcast, and the camera never zoomed in on notes on the defense’s table.

“The court has the discretion to limit media activity, which only serves to sensationalize the proceedings and which converts the courtroom into a circus,” the motion says. “Defense counsel would ask that since media has abused their privilege to photograph and record the proceedings in a fair and reasonable manner, that cameras be banned from the courtroom. Alternatively, still camera photos (with no zoom features) from the jury box or from the front row of the spectator section may be acceptable.”

Archibald and Thomas ask Boyce to hold a hearing to discuss their request.

This isn’t the first time a motion has been filed asking that cameras be banned from the courtroom in this case. In July 2020, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood asked Judge Farren Eddins to prohibit video cameras during preliminary hearings.

EastIdahoNews.com joined other media outlets in opposing the ban and hired Idaho Falls attorney Steve Wright.

“When the public is aware that the law is being enforced and the criminal justice system is functioning, an outlet is provided for these understandable reactions and emotions,” Wright wrote in an objection at the time. “The unique and remarkable allegations of this case are the very reason that video coverage of the proceedings is vital.”

Eddins denied Wood’s motion, and cameras were allowed into proceedings.

A hearing on Daybell’s new motion had not been scheduled as of Wednesday afternoon.