A hearing is scheduled for a defendant who just lost her private attorney in a murder case. Court is set for Lori Vallow Daybell, 48, at 3 p.m. MT / 5 p.m. ET. You can watch in the player above.
Idaho Judge Steven W. Boyce recently disqualified her lawyer Mark Means from her Fremont County murder case, in part criticizing the attorney and saying he had also previously represented her co-defendant spouse Chad Daybell, 53. The couple is charged with murdering Lori’s children Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, who went missing on different dates in September 2019 from Rexburg, Idaho and were found on Chad’s Fremont County property the following June. Chad is also accused of killing his wife Tammy Daybell, 49, in October 2019. Authorities initially considered this death natural instead of homicide. Authorities have said Lori’s brother Alex Cox was an unindicted co-conspirator in the deaths, but he himself died December 2019 of what officials called natural causes.
Cox shot and killed his sister’s previous husband Charles Vallow in Arizona in July 2019. Though he maintained self-defense, authorities argued that the siblings plotted his death. Prosecutors declined to charge Chad Daybell in this.
The case of Lori, who is named Lori Vallow in Idaho court records, is sort of in limbo after Boyce determined she was not competent for trial. Boyce took Means to task, saying the attorney potentially made himself a witness in the case amid her mental health challenge.
“Mr. Means has potentially made himself a witness in the case, by filing multiple pleadings in the form of declarations, containing factual assertions of Mr. Means submitted under penalty of perjury,” Boyce wrote. “That unusual manner of practice has further caused the Court to be concerned about the effectiveness of Mr. Means’ representation of Vallow in the case. Also of concern, is a possible intentional or unintentional waiver of Vallow’s attorney-client privilege, where Mr. Means has submitted to the record purported facts from statements Vallow made to Mr. Means under the umbrella of the privilege she enjoys, while she has been deemed incompetent to proceed. This is precisely the situation that ethics rules caution against, where the rules stress that lawyers should avoid becoming witnesses in their clients’ cases.”
Public defender R. James Archibald remains as Lori’s attorney.
[Booking photo via Madison County Sheriff’s Office]
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