Judge rules ‘In Your Own Backyard’ podcaster will not have to testify

Chris Lambert

By KAREN VELIE

A San Luis Obispo County judge ruled Wednesday that “Your Own Backyard” podcaster Chris Lambert won’t have to testify or provide records during the preliminary hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores.

Flores’ defense attorney had subpoenaed Lambert, whose podcasts renewed interest in the 1996 disappearance of Kristin Smart, to testify. Robert Sanger also 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.

Lambert’s attorney Diana Palacios told the court that California’s shield law protects Lambert from having to provide unpublished notes and materials from his reporting.

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

Palacios argued the defense had not shown they couldn’t get the information Lambert could supply from other sources.

Judge Craig van Rooyen then ruled in favor of Palacios’ motion to quash Sanger’s subpoena.

Testimony is set to resume on Thursday.

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.

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