By KAREN VELIE
Paul Flores’ defense attorney has again subpoenaed a freelance journalist whose podcasts helped shine a light on the alleged 1996 murder of Kristin Smart.
Chris Lambert was served a subpoena on July 10. Paul Flores’ attorney Robert Sanger is seeking records of Lambert’s investigation.
Lambert has devoted 10 podcast episodes to the Kristin Smart murder. He is fighting the subpoena.
California has a shield law to protect journalists from providing unpublished notes and materials from their reporting.
Under the shield law, Article I, section 2(b) of the California Constitution and Evidence Code section 1070, California courts are required to conduct a balancing test, weighing the needs of a criminal defendant for the journalists notes and material and then determining if the information can be obtained from sources other than the journalist.
Following a similar subpoena in Aug. 2021, San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen ruled Lambert did not have to provide records or testify, because it would have a “chilling effect” on the media.
Juror selection finished on Tuesday. Court is set to resume Thursday, when the judge will listen to several motions. It is unclear when the judge will rule on Lambert’s objection.
Opening statements are expected to begin on July 18.
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.