Judge lowers bail for Ruben Flores
SAN LUIS OBISPO — A San Luis Obispo Superior Court judge lowered the bail for 80-year-old Ruben Flores, who has been charged as an accessory in the murder of Cal Poly freshman Kristin Smart.
Mr. Flores appeared in court Wednesday via Zoom. Ruben Flores and his son, 44-year-old Paul Flores, pleaded not guilty at their arraignment Monday and Judge Craig van Rooyen ordered Paul Flores to be held in San Luis Obispo County Jail without bail.
Judge van Rooyen said Wednesday that, under the law, Ruben Flores must be given a reasonably affordable amount of bail because he is not a flight risk or a risk to public safety.
Judge van Rooyen lowered the bail amount to $50,000. Bail was initially set at $250,000.
“I believe that, based on the declarations related to the defendant’s finances, that he’s able to afford that,” Judge van Rooyen said, according to reports. “If that changes, I can revisit what he’s able to afford if you have different or additional information.”
Should he be released, Ruben Flores is required to follow all laws, remain in San Luis Obispo County, submit to electronic monitoring, and surrender his passport to the court, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
Paul and Ruben Flores were arrested April 13 in San Pedro and Arroyo Grande, respectively, and the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office announced the criminal charges the following day.
— Mitchell White
DUI checkpoint scheduled Friday
GOLETA — The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, which is contracted to provide police services for the city of Goleta, will hold a DUI checkpoint from 6 p.m. Friday to 3 a.m. Saturday at an undisclosed location within the city.
The locations for the checkpoint are selected based on a history of DUI crashes and arrests. The primary purpose of checkpoints is not to make arrests, but “to promote public safety by deterring drivers from driving impaired,” said Raquel Zick, sheriff’s spokeswoman.
During the checkpoint, authorities will look for signs that drivers are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
“The safety of our community is and always will be our mission,” Senior Deputy Jeff Farmer said in a statement. “We are looking for impaired drivers because driving under the influence is dangerous and puts others on the road at risk.”
Motorists are reminded that impaired driving is not just from alcohol, but can also include prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs that interfere with driving.
“While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal,” Ms. Zick said. “If you plan on drinking or taking medications that may impact your ability to drive safely, plan on staying at home.”
Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.
Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
— Mitchell White