SALT LAKE CITY — A clinician who worked with Lori Vallow during her stay at the Idaho State Hospital is accused of using the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to manipulate a potential death penalty case involving the accused murdered.
A motion filed by Vallow's attorney Mark Means claims the clinician, identified only as "N.C.," instructed Vallow to obtain legal advice from the Church.
Vallow is currently being held by the Idaho Department of Idaho Department of Health and Welfare after being deemed incompetent to stand trial on accusations she and her husband, Chad Daybell, killed her two children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua "JJ" Vallow.
According to Means' motion, the clinician claimed that making a call to a Church attorney was part of Vallow's "homework" for treatment.
"Clinician 'checked in' with the Defendant to ensure this assignment was completed," according to the motion.
According to the motion, "N.C." obtained a Church phone number for Vallow, who then called the number and spoke to a receptionist.
Vallow was then forwarded to Daniel McConkie, an attorney with the Church's law firm Kirton McConkie.
Means said McConkie reportedly "bragged" to Vallow about his more than 30 years as a prosecutor, leading her "to make disclosures she would not have without these assurances."
The motion claims McConkie is not licensed to practice law in Idaho, rendering it impossible for him to offer Vallow representation in a criminal matter in the state.
Vallow told Means that McConkie was "eager" to discuss her case and that he would "assist her with finding an attorney that could legally practice law in Idaho and possibly provide assistance with her matter."
After speaking with Vallow, the motion states McConkie contacted Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood. Means is accusing McConkie of ethical violations, saying "[Vallow] made Brady violation disclosures under the guise that the Church was her friend."
Means describes the circumstances of McConkie's involvement at the behest of a state employee as an "abhorrent and blatant manipulation of the incompetent Defendant," especially because of Vallow's "abnormal obsessive view of the LDS Church, its Doctrine, and its Leaders."
Means now wants to depose McConkie and subpoena records from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to determine whether Vallow's rights were violated.
He also wants "N.C." barred from treating Vallow.
It's unclear whether the phone call was recorded.
Greg Skordas, a current defense attorney and former prosecutor not affiliated with the case agreed to speak with FOX 13 to give his legal opinion.
"I feel like it was a little unusual, if it's true, that the state hospital employee encouraged the phone call," Skordas said. "She may have felt that there was some sort of therapeutic benefit to this. It's hard to describe what that (benefit) could have been, but I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt."
Linda Smith, an attorney and member of the Ethics Advisory Opinion Committee, said McConkie could face questions about ethical concerns due to a conflict of interest.
"McConkie is not her friend... I guess if she was seeking spiritual advice, McConkie should have referred her to the right bishop," Smith said. "(Vallow and McConkie's) interests are probably not aligned... from that perspective, McConkie shouldn't be talking to her about Church stuff."
"Means has every right to ask for a copy of that recording," she continued.
Smith cited Rule 1.6 and Rule 1.7 of the Utah Rules of Professional Conduct as potential ethical concerns, depending on the nature of the phone call.
"The fact that she's not competent doesn't mean she's not competent to speak to an attorney," Smith said. "They're allowed to seek a second opinion... She can talk to lawyers who aren't in this case."
Prosecutors released the following statement in response to the motion.
McConkie has not responded to FOX 13's requests for comment.