Judge rules against motion to dismiss DA in Kristin Smart murder case

Paul Flores and Robert Sanger, photo by Dave Minsky

By KAREN VELIE

A judge ruled Wednesday that the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office will continue prosecuting the Kristin Smart murder case, denying a defense attorney’s motion to disqualify county prosecutors because of bias.

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

In his motion to disqualify local prosecutors, Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger argued that wearing purple items of clothing, Kristin Smart’s favorite color, by the prosecutor and several of the members of his team showed bias. Judge Craig van Rooyen said he understood the argument, but he did not agree it prejudiced the defendants, before denying the motion.

Judge van Rooyen did, however, grant a motion permitting the defense to review confidential personnel records of the lead detective on the case – SLO County sheriff deputy Clint Cole – in a search for evidence of misconduct or inappropriate communications with witnesses.

The preliminary hearing is expected to resume on Monday.

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