Vallow-Daybell case: No pictures or video coverage in court, judge orders


FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho — Cameras won’t be allowed in future court proceedings for Lori Vallow (aka Lori Vallow Daybell), the woman who, along with her husband, Chad Daybell, faces trial in January on charges of murdering her children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

Fremont County District Court Judge Steven Boyce on Friday issued an order prohibiting video and photographic coverage. Audio recording will still be allowed.

“The Court is very concerned that continued visual coverage of this case will impede the ability of the parties to select fair and unbiased jurors. While the Court has refrained from delving into viewing the coverage in this case, the coverage is so extensive the Court has had to proactively avoid viewing it, as it is routinely part of local, and at times, national news,” Boyce wrote in the memo accompanying his order.

Attorneys for Vallow in August filed a motion seeking to ban cameras from the courtroom, and the state concurred. More than 30 media outlets, including KTVB, joined a motion opposing such a ban, citing importance of public access to court proceedings.

Under Idaho Court Administrative Rule 45, judges reserve the right to limit audio or video coverage of any public hearing “when the interests of the administration of justice requires.”

Boyce makes it clear that the media in the courtroom up until now has not broken any rules or behaved badly, as was claimed by Vallow’s attorneys.

“First, the Court affirms that there is no indication that any orders relating to the conduct of the media during hearings in this case have been violated. The Court has likewise witnessed no misconduct on any part of the media during hearings in these cases. The presence of media during the hearings has in no way interrupted those proceedings, and attending media have been respectful and professional,” the judge wrote.

Boyce’s ruling comes just over a week after he heard arguments on the motion. (Video of full hearing posted here)

“In fully considering this decision, the Court notes that the media have raised a compelling issue: public access for the citizens of Fremont and Madison counties,” Boyce wrote. “The excessive coverage of this case has already resulted in the Court’s determination that trial will be held in Ada County, Idaho, as the Court has previously concluded that it would be unlikely to obtain an unbiased jury pool within the home county of this case, Fremont County. It is unfortunate that local citizens, including citizens of both Fremont and Madison Counties, who bear the cost of this case and should be given local access to this trial, should they wish to attend, now cannot do so without inconvenience.”

The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 9, 2023, in Ada County. To accommodate residents of Fremont and Madison counties who wish to view the trial in person, Boyce wrote that the court will provide designated seating for them “in a manner to be further determined.”

The memorandum and order are linked here.


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