Both defendants appeared on video from the San Luis Obispo County Jail and live on Zoom in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.
Robert Sanger and Sarah Sanger acted as counsel for Paul Flores. Harold Mesic appeared as counsel for Ruben Flores.
The lead prosecutor in the case was Assistant Attorney General Christopher Peuvrel.
The hearing began with Robert Sanger pleading innocent to the murder of Christine Smart by 44-year-old Paul Flores.
Paul’s father, Ruben Flores, 80, an attorney for Harold Mesick, also pleaded not guilty to being an accessory to the murder of Kristin Smart.
After pleading guilty, Judge Baltodano asked for arguments on bail.
Paul Flores’ lawyer, Robert Sanger, argued that his client should be released on bail. Earlier, Paul Flores got zero bail.
Counsel referred to the White and Humphrey case when discussing bail.
Robert Sanger argued that there was no evidence that his client was a danger to the community and that there was no risk of flight upon his release. Mr. Sanger mentioned that Paul Flores is a homeowner and has remained in California despite being suspended or even attacked by something like the media, not necessarily the media, but the blogs that have accused him for the past 20 years.
After hearing arguments from both the prosecution and defense, Judge Baltodano ruled against bail because of a possible life sentence in the case, noting that since the alleged crime, Paul Flores has not gone unpunished so far.
Christopher Pevrel, representing the court, argued that searches of Flores’ home in March and early 2000s had found substantial evidence.
Harold Mesick then argued for the release of Ruben Flores due to his poor health and the fact that he had never been arrested before.
The judge ordered that Ruben Flores be granted reasonable bail, given the amount of time he will eventually have to spend in the trial. After reviewing the finances, they will meet Wednesday to determine the amount of the bond.
There was a discussion about the preliminary hearing scheduled for the 6th. The month of July was planned.
Mr. Peuvrel stated that the amount of documents discovered is huge and will be sent to the defendants as soon as possible, but given the amount of documents the prosecution has, it will take up to three months to review them, so he wanted to be careful before setting a date.
Both defendants waived their right to an expedited preliminary hearing.
After some discussion, it was decided to hold a preliminary hearing in one month’s time, on May 17 at 1:30 p.m.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 6 at 8:30 a.m. and another preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 21. June scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Sound recordings are not allowed in the press room.
Nevertheless, the indictment can be viewed live at slo.courts.ca.gov/gi/live.htm in the San Luis Obispo Superior Courts.
Smart spokesman John Segal said the Smart family had no comment or statement about today’s hearing.
Final weeks of hearings, comments not accepted, judgment hearing continues until Monday the 19th. April in Smart case continues, prosecution considers charge of murder in Christine Smart case, judge returns to try Christine Smart after nearly 25 years.
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