Judge Will Decide Whether Prosecutor in Daybell Case Is Disqualified After Alleged Misconduct
Chad and Lori Daybell's attorneys this week alleged prosecutorial misconduct in their client's case which is set for trial in July.
Chad and Lori Daybell's attorneys this week alleged prosecutorial misconduct in their client's case, which is set for trial in July, according to a report. Defense attorneys Mark Means and John Prior accused Special Prosecutor Rob Wood of attempting to "coerce, unduly influence, coach, and or intimate" Lori's sister Summer Shiflett in October, the East Idaho News reported.
After the joint motion to disqualify was filed Tuesday, Wood, who is serving in Madison County in Lori's case and acting as a Special Prosecutor in Fremont County for Chad's case, spoke out the next day denying all allegations against him and requesting an expedited hearing to clarify the lawyer's claims, the outlet reported.
Both Means and Prior claim they received audio recordings between Wood and Shiflett, who is a material witness. The recording also features a former associate of Lori and Chad, another material witness in the case.
Their allegations of prosecutorial misconduct could impede on their clients' right to a fair trial. Means has also called Wood a material witness in the case ––adding that he intends to subpoena the prosecutor as a witness to support current and future motions, the outlet reported.
Wood asserts that the attorneys representing both material witnesses on the audio recording did not object to any of his statements or questions. Wood also says that he did not produce the recordings or consent to them being taped.
According to Idaho's online court portal, the hearing was scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 18 on the misconduct allegations was "closed." The audio recording in question has remained private but a recent court order obtained by East Idaho News summarizes what took place during the closed hearing.
Last Thursday, District Judge Steven Boyce ordered that the affidavit Wood filed be sealed and "any further proposed affidavits or exhibits in support of the joint motions to disqualify be sealed until further order of this court," the outlet reported.
Boyce emphasized that the privacy of the parties involved and the right to fair trial outweigh the public interest to release the affidavit. And on Monday, Boyce denied Wood's request for a temporary judicial protection order that would prevent parties, witnesses, victims, law enforcement officers, and court personnel from discussing the audio or a motion to disqualify, the East Idaho News reported.
This means that certain documents will remain sealed, but those involved in the case are free to speak with the media. Included in those sealed documents is an affidavit by Garrett Smith, the attorney who was in the room where the audio recordings were taken from.
In the hearing, Means asked that Wood stop working on the case until a decision is made on the prosecutor's status but Boyce denied that request.
A hearing to decide if Wood should be disqualified from the case will take place on Jan. 6 in Fremont County, the outlet reported. Both Wood and Prior want the hearing closed to the public but Means, who is Lori's attorney, wants it open.
Chad and Lori Daybell are both charged with the concealment, alteration, and destruction of the bodies of Lori's two children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16. They are not charged with killing the children and have both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
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