The judge thinks he can exclude the cameras from the Idaho mom murder case

The judge thinks he can exclude the cameras from the Idaho mom murder case

Accused mother killed as children (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Accused mother killed as children (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

A judge told lawyers in a high-profile triple homicide case that he is concerned that extensive news coverage may make it more difficult for a jury to be installed when the trial begins in months.

“You have named 35 major media organizations, which tells me there is tremendous interest in getting all information out to as many people as possible,” 7th District Judge Steven Boyce said Thursday. He told lawyers that he would soon decide whether to change how-or whether-the cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during the criminal proceedings of Lori Vallow Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell.

The couple are accused of conspiring together to kill Lori Vallow Daybell’s two youngest children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, as well as Chad Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell. The strange details of the case, including accusations by prosecutors that the couple used unusual religious beliefs centered around the doomsday as justification for the killings, attracted international attention.

Late last month, Vallow Daybell’s attorneys asked the judge to ban cameras from the courtroom, arguing that a news outlet abused the privilege of filming the proceedings when he repeatedly zoomed in on Vallow Daybell’s face during a ‘ audience of 16 August. Lawyers, Jim Archibald and John Thomas, said the cameras and microphones could potentially be used to overhear private conversations or to view private notes on the defense table.

A coalition of news outlets led by EastIdahoNews.com last week asked the court to deny that request, noting that coverage of the hearing was done well within the bounds of the judge’s previous order that allowed cameras and that they never were. private notes or conversations have been captured. The Associated Press was among nearly three dozen news outlets that joined the request.

During the hearing on Thursday morning, the newspaper attorney said blocking the cameras from the courtroom would not stop the widespread public interest. It would only have prevented people from seeing the most accurate representation of the prosecution, Steve Wright said.

“The reality is that preliminary publicity is a result of what the state has charged and the circumstances under which they base it,” Wright said.

Cameras and microphones were installed in locations pre-approved by court staff, Wright told the judge, and the news organization acting as the pool videographer had technical staff who closely monitored the broadcast to make sure it wasn’t caught anything inappropriate.

“These are professionals who are some of the best at what they do in difficult situations like this,” Wright said.

Wright noted that the judge has the ability to decide where and how to place cameras and microphones in the courtroom if he chooses to do so. Completely blocking the cameras would be a “big overreaction,” she said.

“It’s like taking a sledgehammer on a problem where a scalpel is appropriate,” he said.

Vallow Daybell’s attorney, Archibald, told the judge that the media coverage was “very salacious” and pointed out that the judge had already decided to move the trial to another county “due to incessant and uninterrupted exposure from of the media of this case “.

During the last hearing, a video camera showed a close-up of Vallow Daybell’s face for about 30 minutes, Archibald told the judge.

“He’s been in custody for two and a half years now,” Archibald said. “What’s the point, teasing her? To make fun of her? To humiliate her? Does it add value to the public other than prejudice jurors? “

If the judge doesn’t want to ban cameras altogether, they could be limited to the jury box or the front row of the courtroom stand, Archibald said.

“This case is hard enough without sensationalization … we certainly don’t need any more drama in this case,” he said.

The judge said he would consider the matter and issue a ruling at a later date.

Idaho law enforcement began investigating the couple in November 2019 after extended family members reported the children were missing. At the time, JJ Vallow was 7 and Tylee Ryan was just two weeks away from turning 17. Their bodies were later found buried on the Chad Daybell property in rural Idaho. Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell were married just two weeks after the unexpected death of his previous wife, Tammy Daybell.

The couple were eventually charged with murder, conspiracy and theft in connection with the deaths of Daybell’s children and late wife. They pleaded not guilty and could be sentenced to death if convicted.

Prosecutors say the couple promoted unusual religious beliefs to promote alleged murder conspiracies. Lori Vallow Daybell’s ex-husband, who died while the two were apart, said in divorce papers that Vallow Daybell believed she was a divine figure responsible for introducing the apocalyptic end of times. Chad Daybell has written fiction books focusing on doomsday and recorded podcasts on preparing for the apocalypse.

Friends of the couple told law enforcement investigators that the couple believed that people could be conquered by dark spirits and that Vallow Daybell referred to her children as “zombies,” which was a term they used to describe those who they were possessed.

Vallow Daybell is also accused of conspiring to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the death of her previous husband. Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Lori Daybell’s brother Alex Cox who said it was self defense. Cox later died of natural causes according to the police.

Arizona legal proceedings are on hold while the Idaho case is pending and Vallow Daybell has not been scheduled to file a plea in the Arizona case.

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