ST. ANTHONY — Lori Vallow Daybell is asking a judge to dismiss her case because she has yet to have a jury trial.
Daybell will have been in jail 1,169 days by the time her trial begins, according to her defense attorneys Jim Archibald and John Thomas, and in a motion filed Thursday, they argue her constitutional rights have been ignored.
“It is undisputed that Lori Vallow Daybell has demanded her speedy trial and has never waived her constitutional rights,” Archibald wrote. “She is prejudiced every day since she’s in jail and unable to post a bond. The court has repeatedly reminded the government that it will respect her constitutional right to a speedy trial.”
Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell are charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan – two of Lori’s children – along with Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell. A trial for the couple is scheduled to begin on April 3 in Ada County.
Daybell was arrested in February 2020 and flown from Hawaii to Madison County where she was booked into jail. A grand jury indicted her on murder charges in May 2021 and her case was put on hold pending competency issues.
“A 40-day delay caused by the competency review still doesn’t justify a trial setting three years after her arrest and almost one year after her arraignment,” Archibald wrote. “The government still has an obligation to bring her to a speedy trial which complies with the Constitutions and the Idaho Code.”
Idaho law requires a trial be held within six months from the date a defendant is arraigned if that person does not waive their right to a speedy trial.
“From her arrest on Feb. 20, 2020. until the current trial setting on April 3, 2023, is 1,169 days without a trial,” Archibald wrote. “Her constitutional rights, including her right to be presumed innocent and her right to a speedy trial, have been ignored by the government.”
Daybell and her husband are scheduled for a joint trial. It was supposed to begin this month but John Prior, Chad Daybell’s attorney, asked District Judge Steven Boyce to postpone the start date. Chad Daybell has waived his right to a speedy trial and Boyce has mentioned in more than one court hearing that the length of Lori Daybell’s incarceration is “concerning” to him.
Daybell’s attorneys argue that because their client has not gone before a jury, Boyce should drop the charges.
“The government cannot show ‘good cause’ to bring Lori Vallow Daybell to trial over three years from her arrest and almost one year from her arraignment. This court should find that the government has not met its burden to uphold her constitutional rights. This case should be dismissed,” Archibald writes.
Daybell’s team also prepared two subpoenas – one for Dave Channer, an attorney with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, requesting “any and all Church records including attendance records, temple records, disciplinary records, records of accomplishment, or any other records” that pertain to Daybell.”
Carrie Reed of the Laurens Institute for Education was also served a subpoena for “any and all school records including attendance records, disciplinary records, records of accomplishment, or any other records in your possession or control that may pertain to Joshua Jaxon Vallow.”
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Feb. 9. Chad and Lori Daybell have pleaded not guilty to all charges.