OGDEN — One-time convicted killer Doug Lovell has written a letter to the Utah Supreme Court asking that one of his court-appointed lawyers and the judge be removed from his case.
Lovell had been on death row almost 17 years when the Utah Supreme Court in July 2010 ruled he could withdraw his guilty plea to the murder of Joyce Yost, citing technical errors when the plea was entered in 1993.
The case is unique because Lovell took the stand at his sentencing hearing to describe how and why he killed Yost in 1985.
In his Aug. 30 letter to the high court, Lovell reiterates complaints he has made since May about public defender Mike Bouwhuis and 2nd District Judge Michael Lyon.
Senior 2nd District Judge W. Brent West found no merit to Lovell’s claims of bias against Lyon, and Lyon ruled last month that Lovell must work out his differences with Bouwhuis.
“Because of my lack of knowledge of the law and how to file correct motions, I ask that this court treat this letter as any motion it deems necessary,” he asks the justices.
“Prior to May, minor issues between Mr. Bouwhuis and I were getting worked out,” reads the letter.
“But since the end of May, Mr. Bouwhuis has known that our relationship was quickly deteriorating. Since that time, he has made no attempt to visit me. Nor has he even encouraged me to call to see if we could work things out.”
The rejected recusal motions were based on Judge Lyon’s 2006 in-court statements of concern about closure for the family of the victim of a more than 20-year-old homicide.
In filing the recusal motions, Bouwhuis and co-counsel Sean Young equated those statements to Lyon favoring Lovell’s execution in wanting to meet the needs of the family members. They have made public statements calling for the execution.
Lovell remains in prison for Yost’s rape, the murder committed to keep the South Ogden woman from testifying about the rape. Lovell is serving 15 years to life for the rape, convicted despite her disappearance. Bowhuis said in couldn’t comment on the case because of attorney-client privilege.