By: Karen Lehr
FREEMONT COUNTY, Idaho (KIVI) — Lori Vallow Daybell is asking a judge to dismiss her multiple murder charges, arguing the court has violated her right to a speedy trial. She’s been held in jail without bond since early 2020.
The Eastern Idaho mom is accused of killing her two children — JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan — and conspiring to kill her husband’s previous wife — Tammy Daybell — in late 2019.
Lori and Chad Daybell are currently set to go on trial together in Ada County beginning April 3, despite continued requests by Chad Daybell’s attorney to sever his client’s case from his wife’s and push it back to a later date. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.
In new court documents, Lori Vallow Daybell’s defense team claims the government has ignored her right to a speedy trial. Vallow Daybell was arrested in Hawaii in February 2020 after ignoring a court order to produce evidence her children were alive and well. It wasn’t until a few months later that the remains of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan were discovered buried on Chad Daybell’s eastern Idaho property in June 2020. Murder charges followed.
The new court filings acknowledge that Vallow Daybell’s case was put on pause while mental health professionals evaluated her competency.
“Lori Vallow Daybell’s defense team questioned her competence to stand trial and the Court tolled the case from October 6, 2022, to November 15, 2022,” the document states. “A 40-day delay caused by the competency review still doesn’t justify a trial setting three years after her arrest and almost one year after her arraignment. The government still has an obligation to bring her to a speedy trial which complies with the Constitution and the Idaho Code.”
The term “speedy trial” does not specify the length of time required to bring a defendant before a jury, leaving the decision up to each state.
The court documents cite Idaho State Code, saying the court “must order the prosecution or indictment to be dismissed if a defendant, whose trial has not been postponed upon his application, is not brought to trial within six months from the date that the defendant was arraigned.”
Vallow Daybell was officially arraigned on murder charges after her competency was restored in April 2021. The trial has been postponed several times.
Just last week, Judge Steven Boyce denied several motions in the case including a request for the two defendants to meet in person to discuss the case. Boyce also denied Chad Daybell’s requests to postpone the trial. He also heard arguments from Lori Vallow Daybell’s defense team to take the death penalty off the table. He has not yet issued his ruling on that motion.
Both defendants are asking the judge to hear their arguments in court on the morning of February 9.
This story was originally published Jan. 26 by KIVI in Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.