It was a long day in the courthouse. One that started with the question “Is it reasonably likely the defendant can have a fair trial in Sutter County?” And ended with an answer, “No, it is not likely.”

For those who just want to get to the nuts and bolts of it, the request for a change of venue has been granted and the next date on the calendar is Friday, January 29 at 9 a.m. It will be a status check on finding a new venue, and it will take place at the Sutter County Superior Courthouse. All procedural hearings leading up to the jury trial will continue to take place in Sutter County. We will update you as we know more.

For those who want a little more background on the day, keep reading! Here’s a summary from a single observer’s point of view – mine! Please note, for complete details, transcripts can be ordered from the court by emailing

So, today. The defense attorney presented an expert witness, Edward J. Bronson, via video to present in favor of the case for change of venue for the jury trial. Much of the morning was spent establishing the expertise of the witness, reviewing his credentials as a lawyer, educator, and knowledge of pre-trial publicity and venue changes, and service on high-profile cases. The list was long and his experience vast, as it should be. Bronson let the court know that this would be his final court appearance, because at 90 years of age it was getting more difficult and time to fully retire.

He was able to set the stage for the court in listing out the criteria that is evaluated in venue change requests, including:

  • Nature of the crime and gravity of the punishment

  • Social (recognition) of the defendant

  • Social status (recognition) of the victim

  • Size of the community/Pre-trial publicity

In cases with pre-trial publicity, he will also often times conduct a survey to gauge the impact in the community. Which, ultimately, was a strategy employed here. Interestingly, upon an initial review of local newspapers (Appeal Democrat and the Sacramento Bee), Bronson found the traditional publicity coverage to be marginal. And he explained it wasn’t until he broke his hip over the summer and was under the care of a nurse from Marysville who was very familiar with, and very passionate about the case, did he change his mind and think a survey might be needed.

The court was presented with a copy of the survey, though for those of us in the audience, and apparently even for those with copies, it was a little tough to follow along. There were several versions, missing pages, miscommunications about which exhibits and questions were being referred to, and Siri interrupted saying she didn’t understand a few times, too… but here’s the gist of it. I think.

An independent firm called Research Strategies, Inc. prepared the survey in collaboration with Bronson, and conducted the actual interviews using a purchased list of Sutter County residents who could be potential jurors. Approximately 300 individuals were surveyed.

~83% of respondents were familiar with the case

~54% of those respondents thought Addison was definitely guilty, and

~25% thought she was probably guilty

There were other questions and findings, but these seemed to be the main points. And Bronson stated these sentiments were unusually high, in his opinion. Leading to his recommendation that a change of venue was necessary.

The People opposed the motion, and asked about/pointed out several discrepancies in the survey and evidence presented. Including how the research sample was obtained. For instance, only 2% of respondents were from Yuba City and of all of those surveyed, 60.5% didn't know what city they lived in or closest to. The judge agreed there were questions and irregularities in the survey. Though in considering the criteria discussed earlier, her assessments were:

  • Nature and gravity - while serious, not so sensational to warrant a change of venue

  • Social (recognition) of the defendant - no celebrity status, does not warrant a change of venue

  • Social status (recognition) of the victim - no status prior, but posthumously, perhaps

  • Size of the community, publicity - has been significant, likely warrants change

The judge said it was her opinion that this particular case has permeated the community, and as such, in this case, in the Sutter County community, at this time, it was reasonably unlikely that a fair and impartial trial could be held for the defendant, Constance Addison.

With the decision the judge stated she could not ignore the community sympathy for the Flores family and the coming together with community events and fundraisers evident on social media and in the news, nor the passion and number of comments and engagements with stories posted on local news Facebook pages, such as Yuba Sutter News and (Yuba-Sutter & Marysville) Accidents & Fire, Crimes Only. as recently as December 2020.

“Change of venue is the transfer of a legal action from one county to another county for trial. In criminal cases a change of venue is permitted if, for example, the court believes the defendant cannot receive a fair trial in a given county. Reasons for changes of venue include pretrial publicity, bias, political atmosphere, and any other circumstance that the parties believe would prevent them from obtaining a fair trial in the county in which the case was originally filed.” - Change of Venue in California Fact Sheet (

by Becky Repka (Alec's Aunt)

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Three motions were scheduled to be heard: change of venue, return of property (driver’s license), and a new date for the jury trial. Both Mr. Marquez (Defense Attorney) and Ms. Addison (Defendant) were present in court today.

The judge chose to begin with the jury trial date, stating that the motion for a change of venue would be dependent on that.

Taking into consideration the conditions of Mr. Marquez’s self-reported positive COVID-19 test and consequential pneumonia: that he was unable to prepare for trial because he could not work or meet with his client or experts during the period of Dec. 9 through Dec. 28, the court agreed to move the trial date to the earliest possible next date. Previously scheduled for January 5, 2021, the jury trial is now slated to begin on March 30, 2021 with a trial readiness hearing at 9 a.m. on March 26, 2021.

Mr. Heimlich (District Attorney) objected to the change in date due to the fact that the trial has been scheduled for many months and that even during the pandemic trials needed to take place. He noted that the defense’s expert discovery and witness list were due to the court 30 days prior to the scheduled start of the trial, but had not been submitted.

With respect to the request for a change of venue, a new date has been set for January 12, 2021 at 9 a.m. to hear that motion.

The issue regarding the return of personal property, Ms. Addison’s driver’s license, was unresolved as its whereabouts could not be confirmed. The court stated that to the best of its knowledge, the defendant's driver’s license had been forwarded to the DMV.

In summary, these are the new dates:

  • Jan. 12 – Motion Hearing for Change of Venue

  • Mar. 26 – Trial Readiness Hearing

  • Mar. 30 – Jury Trial

Case Information

CRF19-0002791 | People of the State of California vs. Addison, Constance Nicole

Case Portal

Court Calendar

Court records can be obtained by emailing Sutter County courts at

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Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Due to illness, Mr. Marquez, Addison’s defense attorney, called into court this morning to request another continuance, which was granted.

The next date scheduled is Tuesday, 12/29, 1:30 p.m. at the Sutter County Superior Courthouse. The motions for a change of venue and return of property will be heard then. Addison is required to appear.

The defense made an additional motion today that the court consider moving the trial start date. This was also requested due to illness and lack of preparation time as a result. It will be addressed at the 12/29 hearing.

The jury trial is currently scheduled to begin on January 5, 2021.

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