Chad Daybell’s defense accuses prosecution of ‘forum shopping’

Posted at 3:46 PM, November 21, 2023


FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (Court TV) — In a motion filed in Fremont County, attorneys representing Chad Daybell have accused the prosecution of “forum shopping” and have asked the Court to deny the State’s motion to move the upcoming murder trial.

Chad Daybell, Lori Daybell combo

(L) Chad Daybell appears for a preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Monday, August 3, 2020. (R) Lori Vallow Daybell appears in court Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Fremont County, Idaho. (Court TV)

Daybell is charged with conspiracy and murder in the deaths of his first wife, Tammy, and the deaths of his second wife’s two youngest children. His second wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, had already been convicted on the same charges.

In response to the intense media attention and scrutiny the case has already received, Judge Steven Boyce had previously ordered the trial be held in Ada County, the same location where Lori’s trial was held in May. Prosecutors filed a renewed request for a change of venue, arguing that the previous trial would make it harder to find an impartial jury in the county.

RELATED: Chad Daybell’s defense use Lori’s trial in fight to strike the death penalty

John Prior, Daybell’s attorney, objected to the motion in a new filing and accused the prosecution of trying to move the trial to find a more favorable jury.

“The state has presented no evidence that any of their selective choices in eastern Idaho would provide any better chance of a fair and impartial trial other than Ada County. The state is seeking a move of the trial to a number of eastern Idaho counties as alternatives and in essence is forum shopping to gain an advantage in the upcoming trial. The state is engaging in last minute grand standing by attempting to cause potential further delay by seeking a change of venue 4 months before a trial.”

Prior also filed a motion objecting to the prosecution’s request to amend the indictment in the case, saying that the changes would result in their client being charged under a different provision and burden than what was presented to the grand jury. The State’s request would change the language in the indictment from “and” in the list of co-conspirators to “and/or,” as well as change a reference from “month” to “months.”

Daybell is due in court for a motion hearing on Dec. 28.