Prosecuting attorneys in Paul Flores trial file opposition to change of venue motion
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. – The San Luis Obispo District Attorney's Office has filed an opposition to the Paul Flores' change of venue motion to move the high-profile Kristin Smart murder trial outside of San Luis Obispo County.
Flores is accused of killing Smart, who was a freshman at Cal Poly at the time of her disappearance in May 1996, and his father, Ruben Flores, is charged as an accessory to the crime.
Flores' defense team filed a change of venue motion on March 9, arguing that a fair and impartial trial could not happen in San Luis Obispo County largely due to the extensive media coverage that Smart's disappearance and the trial have already garnered, and that the case has been "a topic of emotional concern" in the county for over a quarter of a century.
The District Attorney's Office filed an opposition to the motion on Friday, March 18, according to court documents obtained by News Channel 3-12.
In the opposition, the District Attorney's Office argues that the defense has failed to prove that Flores would not receive a fair and impartial trial in the county.
It stated that the defense has not supplied adequate evidence for the California Supreme Court's primary factors to consider when considering evidence in a change of venue motion: the nature and gravity of the defense, the nature and extent of news coverage, the size of the community, the status of the defendant in the community, and the popularity and prominence of the victim.
It is up to Paul Flores and his defense team to prove that there is reasonable likelihood that he cannot receive a fair trial in the county, the District Attorney's Office said.
The office also goes on to state that the court allowed Ruben Flores to join the oral motion for the change of venue two days before the objection to the motion was due.
"Like Paul Flores, Ruben Flores also bears the burden of demonstrating there is a reasonable likelihood that he cannot receive a fair and impartial trial in San Luis Obispo County," the opposition states.
"Like Paul Flores, Ruben Flores fails to meet his burden."
The change of motion hearing is set for March 30, and the trial is scheduled to begin in late April but could be delayed if the change of venue motion is granted.