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Local attorneys explain what may be next for Paul, Ruben Flores in the court system

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Posted at 10:38 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-20 02:15:29-04

Now that pleas have been entered by Paul and Ruben Flores, some may be wondering how long until a potential jury trial.

Local attorneys say the court process in real-life moves much slower than what you may see on your screen.

"Take everything you've seen on the TV or in the movies, and throw that right out the window," Defense Attorney Scott Taylor said.

A lot of the slowdown is due to the discovery process, which is reportedly underway in the case of Paul and Ruben Flores.

"Discovery is the generating and transferring of the reports that have been prepared by law enforcement or third parties," Attorney Jeffrey Stein said.

Those reports could be hundreds of pages long and may include search warrants, evidence found and witness statements.

Taylor says he is currently assigned to two murder trials in San Luis Obispo County. He believes being as thorough and methodical as possible is important when going through the discovery to put together a case.

"I can either do it right or I can do it quick — I typically can't do both," Taylor explained.

Next comes a pre-preliminary hearing, which attorneys say is often a more procedural court date to confirm everyone is ready to go to the preliminary hearing at the next date.

"A preliminary hearing is a fact-finding determination where the court is required to determine if a crime was committed and if there is reasonable suspicion that the person that has been accused has committed," Stein said.

Attorneys say preliminary hearings can take weeks to get through.

But this is different than an eventual trial because it does not have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that someone committed a crime, according to Stein.

Attorneys say it is possible after the preliminary hearing, the defense could ask the court to move venues, meaning Paul and Ruben Flores would be tried outside of San Luis Obispo County.

Following that, the two will potentially be arraigned and enter pleas again.

Attorneys say they are then entitled to a jury trial within 60 days.

Taylor says while the process may be a lengthy one, he hopes people keep an open mind and maintain their compassion for everyone involved in the case.

"When we get to the end of this - regardless of the outcome - this is a horrific process for everyone involved. No one is going to come out of this feeling like a winner," Taylor said.

One potential detour that could happen this week in the case is what happens when Ruben Flores has his bail setting hearing on Wednesday.

Due to a new ruling from the California Supreme Court on setting bail amounts, it's possible Flores may be released from jail and put on electronic monitoring instead.

While some cases may take a while, everyone has the right to a fair and speedy trial. It's up to defendants whether or not they want to waive their rights to extend the time frame their case may go through the courts.