Judge denies motion for Chad Daybell’s attorney to withdraw from case

Posted at 2:44 PM, January 18, 2024 and last updated 2:46 PM, January 18, 2024

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho (Scripps News Salt Lake City) — An Idaho judge has denied Chad Daybell’s attorney’s request to withdraw from his client’s death penalty case.

Attorney John Prior filed a motion last week to remove himself from the case, which is scheduled to begin on April 1, saying Daybell was unable to pay him and that he was unqualified to argue a death penalty case.

Chad Daybell sits with his attorney in court

Chad Daybell, left, sits with his defense attorney John Prior during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020.  (John Roark/Post Register via AP, POOL)

During Thursday’s hearing at the Fremont County Courtroom, Judge Steven Boyce heard arguments from Prior, who claimed that by working alone, he hasn’t had time to effectively prepare for the case. State prosecutors argued that Prior was changing the reasoning for the motion and that it is a “veiled motion to continue” and delay the case.

Prior said he has attempted to hire an additional attorney to assist with the case, but has been unable to secure anyone’s services.

Before denying the motion, Boyce expressed his concerns over allowing Prior to leave the case, saying the trial would possibly be faced with over a years delay due to new attorneys having to get themselves prepared for trial. While he said Prior’s argument about not being paid was a valid one, it was not enough to rule in favor of him leaving the case.

This story was originally published by Scripps News Salt Lake City, an E.W. Scripps Company.