Ruby Franke's attorney expects her to be incarcerated 'for the foreseeable future'

A hearing for Ruby Franke where her attorney hoped to address custody was delayed Monday. She appeared virtually Monday in a juvenile case in Provo.
A hearing for Ruby Franke where her attorney hoped to address custody was delayed Monday. She appeared virtually Monday in a juvenile case in Provo. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Ruby Franke’s attorney said he expects his client to be incarcerated for a while, as a hearing to address her custody status was delayed Monday.

"My client is incarcerated, and that looks like it's going to continue for the foreseeable future," LaMar Winward said.

Franke is charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse, along with her business partner Jodi Hildebrandt, after police say one of Franke's children escaped from Hildebrandt's home and asked a neighbor to reach out to police.

Court documents say the child had been duct taped and was malnourished, and another of Franke's children was also found malnourished.

Ruby Franke appeared virtually Monday morning in 4th District Juvenile Court in Provo, hours before a hearing in St. George was scheduled in her criminal case. A document was filed in her case Monday asking to continue the hearing in that case until after Oct. 5.

The motion said attorneys agreed during a phone conversation on Sunday that "additional time is needed to review the copious amount of discovery."

On Sept. 9, Franke asked for detention to be addressed more quickly, and the hearing in her criminal case was moved up a few days.

Ruby Franke
Ruby Franke | screengrab

Franke, 41, is a Springville mom who had over 2 million YouTube followers on a family-based "8 Passengers" channel. Hildebrandt, 54, is a licensed clinical mental health counselor who more recently ran a YouTube channel with Franke. Both have been ordered to be held without bail pending trial.

At the Provo hearing Monday, Judge Suchada Bazzelle talked about a pending motion to seal the case, which has been agreed to by all the attorneys. Ruby Franke's husband, Kevin Franke, was at the courthouse with his attorney.

Bazzelle expressed a desire to only speak about scheduling and procedural issues during the case, citing a motion that has been filed to close the case to the public. She asked attorneys to be careful about what is said in court while that motion is pending.

Virginia Blanchard, who represents the children in the case, said this case deals with sensitive issues involving children. She filed the motion to seal the case.

"(Not sealing the case) is fundamentally unfair to them, it's contrary to their best interests … and it's being tried on the world's stage as we speak," she said.

Bazelle said she wants to consider other viewpoints, and noted that there were multiple media representatives in the room, but agreed that dealing with children is sometimes sensitive.

Bazzelle asked Shari Franke, Ruby's oldest daughter who was at the hearing with an attorney, to file a motion weighing in on the request to seal the case, which would prevent her from attending future hearings.

"I'd like to know your perspective so I can weigh that in," Bazzelle said.

Kevin Franke's attorney, Randy Kester, said he would file a brief regarding his client's ability to speak about issues in the case without disclosing what happens in court if the case is closed.

Attorneys confirmed mediation had occurred last week in the juvenile case, and another mediation was scheduled Monday for Oct. 11. After that mediation, a pretrial will be held on Oct. 17 to discuss what will happen next in the juvenile court case.

Bazzelle agreed to a protective order that would limit the mediation to only parties in the case and their attorneys and restrict streaming or recording. She said this order will expedite the mediation process.

"This case is not a typical case," she said.

The hearing on Oct. 17 is set to occur in person, and Bazzelle said the court will prepare a transportation order for Ruby Franke to be transported from jail. The hearing will be public unless Bazzelle grants the motion to seal the case.

Correction: A previous headline incorrectly said "she" when referring to Ruby Franke's attorney.