As far as the law is concerned, the case of Lori Vallow is in a holding pattern. She’s being charged in Idaho for allegedly deserting her missing children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, and hindering efforts to investigate the kids’ disappearance. For now, eyes are largely on the upcoming court hearings, but there’s been a snag. One of the defendant’s attorneys filed a motion Wednesday to disqualify the judge, but didn’t explain why.
From the motion, obtained by East Idaho News:
COMES NOW DEFENDANT, by and through her Attorney of Record, Mark L. Means and moves this Magistrate Judge Eddins be disqualified for without cause pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 25 in the above entitled matter.
Below is the text for Idaho Criminal Rule 25. The text says both sides of a criminal case can have one disqualification without cause aimed at a magistrate judge appointed to hear a preliminary hearing [emphasis ours]:
In any criminal action, excluding actions before drug courts or mental health courts, any party may disqualify one judge by filing a motion for disqualification without stating any grounds, and the motion must be granted if timely filed. Each party in a felony prosecution will have one disqualification without cause of the magistrate appointed to hear the preliminary hearing and another disqualification without cause of the district judge appointed to hear the trial of the action.
It couldn’t hurt to ask the Vallow team about this, but her attorneys did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
Means, and Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood are also requesting that a two-day hearing set for March 18 and 19 be pushed back to May 7 and 8.
Police in Rexburg, Idaho say that the children were last seen in Sept. 2019, and that investigators started looking into this in late November. Instead of helping the investigation, however, Vallow allegedly left town for Hawaii with her new husband Chad Daybell. The defendant was arrested, then extradited back to Idaho.
Bond was initially set at $5 million, but was reduced to $1 million during a hearing in Idaho. Vallow would have to submit to an ankle monitor and 24/7 monitoring if she were to be released.
Attorney Edwina Elcox took point for the defense. She argued her client wasn’t a flight risk: The defendant’s passport had expired, her move to Hawaii had been planned, and she did not have any criminal law violation in her life.
Vallow faces charges of felony desertion and nonsupport of dependent children, resisting or obstructing officers, criminal solicitation to commit a crime, and contempt of court.
The children’s whereabouts remain unknown. Chad Daybell has cryptically said that the kids are safe.
Joshua Vallow has brown hair, has brown eyes, stands 4’0″, and weighs 50 pounds, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Tylee Ryan has blonde hair, has blue eyes, stands 5’0″, and weighs 160 pounds. Officials said the boy “may be in need of medical attention.”
[Screengrab via KTVB]