SAN LUIS OBISPO – The two defendants, Paul Flores and Ruben Flores, were in San Luis Obispo Superior Court this morning, live on Zoom video, for their arraignment. Both defendants waived their right to be present in court.
The Honorable Judge Baltodano presiding in Division 6.
The public prosecutor’s office filed criminal charges against Paul Flores (44) and his father Ruben Flores (80) on Wednesday, April 14.
The charge against Paul Flores is the murder of Christine Smart. Flores is accused of causing Smart’s death by committing or attempting to commit rape, which is premeditated murder under California law.
Ruben Flores was charged with accessory to murder; he allegedly helped hide Smart’s body after the murder.
The lead prosecutor, Assistant Prosecutor Chris Peuvrel, attended the virtual hearing live.
Attorneys Robert Sanger and Sarah Sanger, legal representatives of Paul Flores, asked that the hearing be postponed until Monday, April 19, and that they wait until then to make a statement.
Paul Flores appeared in a suit while Reuben Flores remained in an orange county jumpsuit during a virtual hearing.
Harold Mesick, attorney for Ruben Flores, also asked that the motion be postponed until Monday’s hearing.
Judge Baltodano continued the hearing on Monday, April 19 at 1 p.m. 30 after there were no objections.
Robert Sanger issued a protective order on behalf of Paul Flores this morning. Judge Baltodano stated that they have discussed and will exclude law enforcement.
None of the lawyers objected.
The judge pointed out that court officials must consult with the press about the times, places and schedule of the broadcasts.
None of the lawyers objected to the administrative aspect of the disclosure. No other details of the regulation have been discussed at this time.
The judge stated that in light of the petition filed and the wide publicity given to this case, he felt it appropriate to issue a protective order and that he would sign it with the changes discussed.
The decision will be announced later today.
The last topic discussed was the bond; Peuvrel suggested keeping the bond.
Sanger, on behalf of Paul Flores, said she will hold a possible bail challenge hearing at 1:30 p.m. or after Monday.
Mesick, on behalf of Ruben Flores, said they are also willing to wait until Monday.
Paul Flores remains out on zero bail and the court will consider releasing Ruben Flores on $250,000 bail.
Finally, Sanger stated that they submitted a proposed pleading and order for consideration by the court and counsel.
The judge said he saw it. No further information was provided.
Shortly after the hearing, the Smart family released a statement:
After almost 25 years of waiting, today’s postponement of the indictment was neither unexpected nor surprising. Make no mistake, we have embarked on one last quest for justice for Christine. We know we are in good hands with the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, and we will patiently wait for the trial to begin.
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We’ll get through this together, Atascadero…