Judge rejects order that would silence Smart family attorney

Kristin Smart

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

A San Luis Obispo County Superior Court judge on Wednesday denied a request by Paul Flores to issue an order barring the civil attorney for Kristin Smart’s family from discussing the case publicly.

In criminal court, Paul Flores is accused of murdering Smart during an attempted rape in 1996. Charged with accessory after the fact, Ruben Flores is suspected of helping his son with Smart’s body. Her body has never been found. 

At a criminal proceeding in April, Judge Craig Van Rooyen issued an order barring the defendants; attorneys in the case or their agents; law enforcement involved in the case; witnesses; and court staff from publicly discussing the case. 

In civil court, Paul Flores’s attorney sought the same protective order be applied to Arroyo Grande lawyer Jim Murphy, who represents the Smart family and has long been outspoken about Kristin Smart’s disappearance. The Smart family’s civil case against Paul Flores has been suspended since 2003, when a judge ordered a stay.

On Wednesday, Judge Ginger Garrett denied Flores’s request for a protective order against Murphy, stating there is no grounds for it because the stay has not been lifted. 

A preliminary hearing in the criminal case is scheduled to begin on July 20. The preliminary hearing is expected to last 12 days. 

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