Judge in Kristin Smart murder trial rules in favor of podcaster

July 15, 2022

Kristin Smart

By KAREN VELIE

A San Luis Obispo County judge ruled Friday that “Your Own Backyard” podcaster Chris Lambert won’t have to testify or provide records during the trial of Paul and Ruben Flores for the alleged murder of Kristin Smart.

Flores’ defense attorney had subpoenaed Lambert, whose podcasts renewed interest in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, to testify. Robert Sanger sought records of Chris Lambert’s correspondence with law enforcement, all records related to the court case, and all records related to his investigation into the disappearance of Smart, and the Flores family.

California courts are required to conduct a balancing test, weigh the needs of a criminal defendant for the journalist’s notes and material and then determine if the information can be obtained from sources other than the journalist.

Chris Lambert

Monterey County Superior Court Judge Jennifer O’Keefe ruled in favor of Lambert’s motion to quash Sanger’s subpoena.

During July, Judge O’Keefe ruled on multiple motions regarding evidence and testimony at trial including:

Paul Flores’ mother’s attempt to quash a subpoena regarding her testimony at trial failed, meaning it is likely Susan Flores will be asked to testify, which may lead to self-incrimination.

The judge ruled a Jan. 2020 recording between Paul Flores and his mother, in which Susan Flores refers to a podcast discussing Smart’s disappearance, is admissible.

Also admissible are recorded conversations between Paul Flores and a detective on May 31 and June 19, 1996 that appear to implicate his father. The jury for Ruben Flores will be required to leave the courtroom while the recording is played.

According to the “Aranda Bruton Rule,” a defendant’s 6th Amendment right to confront and cross-examine witnesses can be violated when a recorded statement made by a co-defendant appears to implicate the defendant if admitted in their joint trial.

Therefore, each defendant will have his own jury, which will listen to most of the trial simultaneously. The two juries will rotate between the jury box and the gallery in a trial expected to last between three and five months.

The judge ruled a statement made by Ruben Flores in May 2021 while deputies collected DNA samples from him with plans to swab his ex-wife and her boyfriend next is admissible.

“They didn’t commit a felony,” Ruben Flores said. “Only I did.”

A deputy escorting Paul Flores from his home in San Pedro

Paul Flores is accused of murdering Smart, a student at Cal Poly, in 1996 following a party they both attended in San Luis Obispo. Flores’ father Ruben Flores is charged as an accessory after the fact. He is suspected of helping his son dispose of Smart’s body.

Opening statements are expected to begin on July 18.


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retiredpoliceofficer

I’ve been wondering whose paying attorneys fees and costs too.. In 2006 Sanger charged $400 an hour. With the long preliminary hearing, motions and a trial of 2-21/2 mos. you’re looking at over

a million, Sanger is not waiting for some suit against the County to get paid. There will be no suit against the County. Once the judge found probable clause at the prelim. that was it.


So who’s paying?


Everybody_Lies

So WHO is paying for this defense attorney? I know he’s not a public defender, and if not mistaken wasn’t he the one who successfully defended Michael Jackson? I doubt Paul has had any gainful employment in many years, Ruben is retired. I don’t think Paul’s parents were exactly wealthy. I can’t imagine them being able to afford Robert Sanger even if they did mortgage everything they owned. I wonder if victorious, the Flores’ would try to sue the County for legal fees?


obispan

Ruben is a disgraced and dismissed Orange County LEO. His wife is an insane ex-school district employee who was dismissed with some sort of settlement.


FoxtrotYankee

The home where Ruben Flores lives, both at time of the crime and today, is located at 710 White Ct., in AG. That’s a 3,050 sqft, 4 bed, 4 bath house worth around $1.5M in today’s market.


Zoiebowie

He liked to talk a lot before. Why not now.


IDBOUND

From what I am gathering by reading articles about this case …Even the judge is bias towards the prosecutors .. If somehow in the land of OZ , if either defendant is convicted the convictions will be overturned on a appeal … Prosecutors and the judge are trying to force a plea bargain and/or trying to have the defendants turn on each other in hopes of a lighter sentence .. Ruben faces time served if convicted ,his son faces a serious lengthy sentence if convicted .When I read that Scott Peterson would not be allowed to testify and at same time announced that Scott Peterson would be getting a reduced sentence ..possibly in trade for his silence … Scott Peterson knew Kristin and Paul they all attended the same parties and Scott got married in SLO …I have always wondered did Scott get Kristin pregnant and killed Kristin so as not to be a father. ….Scott killed Lacy and their unborn child …did Scott kill Lacy so as not be a father a 2nd time or did Lacy figure out Scott killed Kristin ?? Did Scott mumble statements either drunk or in his sleep during a dream to Lacy that he killed Kristin for getting pregnant ?? In my opinion any and every person who had contact with Kristin up until her disappearence should allowed to testify for either the defense or prosecutors …Instead of selectively chosen to favor the prosecutors …Is SLO county actually this worried about a civil suit brought forth by Paul and Ruben for malicious prosecution ?? Or is the trial supposed to be held up as election propaganda for the DA’s office ?? So many questions and no answers till the gavel swings .. Even our judicial system is tainted in numerous ways .


injustice_to_bees

If only we had built the Webb space telescope about 30 light years in the direction of galaxy expansion, then we could just look back to 1996 and see what happened.

Until then, keep those conspiracy theories coming!! Entertaining stuff!!


Budd Fugger

Tinfoil hat time!