NewsKristin Smart Case


Here's why the court hearing in the Kristin Smart murder case is not being broadcast live

El Nino Storms
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Posted at 4:30 PM, Aug 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-02 20:44:06-04

We've heard from a lot of people asking if the preliminary hearing for Paul and Ruben Flores is being broadcast live.

The answer is - no.

That's because the judge has put several restrictions on media coverage of the hearing.

Only one video camera and one still camera are allowed in the courtroom.

That's called a "pool" camera situation. The news agency designated as the pool camera shares their video or pictures with other media covering the case.

Per the judge's orders, we are only allowed to record video, no live broadcasting is allowed, and we can not record any audio of the hearing.

There are also restrictions on who we can show in the video.

We can only record video of the defendants, their attorneys, and the judge.

We can not show you any of the witnesses who take the stand or any other people attending the hearing.

We are also barred from recording video of any evidence that's submitted in court.

While these restrictions are fairly common for court cases in San Luis Obispo County, each judge can set their own rules for media coverage.

Judge Craig van Rooyen set these rules at a court hearing on June 21.

He explained his reasoning for not allowing audio recordings, saying that thousands of people had already logged in to watch the previous Zoom hearings in the case, and he worried it could taint the potential jury pool if the case were to go to trial and also deter witnesses from testifying or cause other witnesses to alter their testimony.

Paul and Ruben Flores are charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart. Paul is charged with murder, while his father, Ruben, is accused of being an accessory to the crime.

Their preliminary hearing is expected to last three weeks. KSBY News will provide daily updates online and in all of our newscasts. The hearing will be paused on Fridays.