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Meet the prosecutor and attorneys in the Kristin Smart case

FLORES attorneys.jpg
Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 22:37:20-04

A deputy district attorney and two defense attorneys prepare for another high-profile case - this time involving Paul and Ruben Flores who are charged in connection with the 1996 disappearance and death of Cal Poly student Kristin Smart.

Paul Flores's attorney

Robert Sanger, Paul Flores's attorney, is well known for defending pop icon Michael Jackson in 2005 and securing a not guilty verdict in the child molestation case out of Santa Barbara County.

Sanger is a senior partner at "Sanger, Swysen & Dunkle" in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.

According to the firm's website, he graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1970 and went on to get his Juris Doctorate at the UCLA School of Law in 1973.

As a seasoned trial lawyer, Sanger has defended his fair share of capital crimes, homicides, sex offenses, embezzlement, and more.

"Mr. Sanger has received recognition for his work on behalf of the public, in civil rights and criminal defense, including, the California State Bar Board of Governor's Award for Pro Bono Services, 1982; Bill of Rights Award, ACLU, Santa Barbara Chapter, 1994; Santa Barbara Criminal Defense Bar Association Order of the Reasonable Doubt, 1993; Death Penalty Focus Special Achievement Award 2004," according to the firm's site.

Ruben Flores's attorney

Harold V. Mesick, Ruben Flores’s attorney, became interested in law later on in life. After he was enlisted in 1973-76, he was a firefighter for the University and City of Davis before working as a building inspector in Northern California in the 1980s and 90s.

While working, he attended night classes at an unaccredited Lorenzo Patino School of Law. He first practiced law in Sacramento in 2003 before moving to San Luis Obispo in 2006.

“Mesicks defend the underdog,” Mesick said. “My approach, generally, is to take the strongest evidence the district attorney has and confront my client with it and say, 'Hey, how do you explain this?'"

He specializes in criminal defense and aside from the Flores case, his most high-profile one dates back to 2014.

“Locally, it would be the Dystiny Myers murder case. I had Jason Greenwell."

This is not the first time Sanger and Mesick have worked together. They made up the defense team for a sex-trafficking case out of San Luis Obispo in 2010.

San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office prosecutor

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Peuvrelle will stand on the other side of the courtroom.

Having nearly 15 years of experience as a prosecutor, Peuvrelle came to San Luis Obispo from the Riverside County District Attorney's Office in 2017.

He grew up in the Bay Area and went to UC San Diego from 1999-2003. He then attended Santa Clara University School of Law from 2003 to 2006, passing the bar in the same year.

He tried many cases there, including the case of People v. Roberto Aguilar.

Very pleased to welcome our newest Deputy District Attorney, Chris Peuvrelle, who comes to us from the Riverside County...

Posted by San Luis Obispo County District Attorney on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

He's currently prosecuting two other local murder cases including the man accused of killing Paso Robles woman Nancy Woodrum.

KSBY reached out to Robert Sanger and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney's Office and both turned down our request for an interview.

A judge signed a protective order last week that prevents attorneys and law enforcement from explicitly discussing the case with the public.