Judge permanently seals nearly 100 exhibits from Chad Daybell trial - East Idaho News
Daybell Case

Judge permanently seals nearly 100 exhibits from Chad Daybell trial

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ST. ANTHONY — Judge Steven Boyce has issued an order permanently sealing nearly 100 exhibits displayed in Chad Daybell’s murder trial.

The decision comes after Boyce says he received several requests for the evidence from authors and members of the media. Daybell was sentenced to death earlier this month after a jury found him guilty of murdering Tammy Daybell, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

“Certain requests seek to obtain all of the exhibits in this case, with some expressly requesting the autopsy photos published to the jury in this case,” Boyce wrote in his order. “The Court notes that at trial those photos were published to the jurors, the parties, the Court, and in some instances privately to the victims, upon their request. They were not however publicly disseminated.”

Boyce says in making his decision, he is balancing the rights of the victims and the public’s right to case information “including those who have a vested interest in monetizing the tragedy surrounding this case.”

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“The Court was particularly moved by several victim impact statements at sentencing expressly criticizing individuals proclaiming to be ‘media’ who, in the course of this case, have disrupted the lives of the families of these victims in the past and now continue their efforts to sensationalize and capitalize on this case,” Boyce wrote. “Some of those family members described in detail the psychological trauma they have unfairly been subjected to by the ‘media,’ simply because they had some familial relationship to the victims in this case.”

In referring to “media,” Boyce noted he does not mean established and historically recognized reporting agencies but “true crime” bloggers and YouTubers.

Boyce sealed 97 exhibits, including photos taken during the autopsies of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, Tylee Ryan and Tammy Daybell. Pictures of the human remains found on Daybell’s property are also permanently sealed.

“The interests of the victims and their family members to be spared the ongoing trauma of such sensitive or gruesome material being disseminated is not outweighed by the right of public disclosure of this evidence,” Boyce wrote. “Victims Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow, Tamara Douglas Daybell and their family members’ respect, dignity and privacy are best protected by the continued sealing of these exhibits.”