Pamela Smart: Woman sentenced to life in jail for plotting husband's murder with lover denied chance at freedom again
CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE: The New Hampshire Court on Wednesday, March 29, quashed Pamela Smart’s latest challenge arguing on her life sentence in jail. It reasoned that the house cannot direct the governor and his executive council to reconsider Smart’s request for a sentence reduction due to the lack of its oversight power. The convict was denied last year, too, while she was trying to seek lesser punishment.
The court said on Wednesday, “Any authority the court would impose over the commutation process would violate the separation of powers doctrine.” Smart, in a sit-down interview with ABC News last month, said that it is likely her last shot at getting out of prison. "We are very saddened that our supreme court side-stepped the main issue in this matter and has given the thumbs up to the governor and council to avoid doing their mandatory constitutional job," said Mark Sisti, Smart's attorney, on Wednesday.
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Why is Pamela Smart in jail?
At the age of 22, Pamela Smart was held accountable for convincing her teenage lover to kill her husband. She appealed last year to overturn Governor Chris Sununu’s decision denying her a commutation hearing in the state’s highest court. “We don’t know if they even looked at one page of what we submitted,” said Sisti, arguing to the panel of judges on February 14 and referring to the countless pages of letters of support and dozens of certificates of rehabilitation that Smart attached to her latest plea for mercy.
Though it is understood that only the governor can decide whether Smart can be freed, there is also a possibility for oversight in cases like this one. “We have to break the chain of politics,” he said at the hearing. The court agreed with Laura Lombardi, a lawyer with the state's attorney general's office, who argued that the New Hampshire Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to decide any facet of a commutation petition. This included how the governor and his council can go about considering one. She further said that the convict has no legal right to a hearing and that she had already received ‘all the justice to which she was entitled.’
'We will not stop our attempts'
Smart’s attorney for decades, Sisti, said, "We will not stop our attempts to free Pamela Smart. At some point, either this governor and council or a future governor and council will have the backbone to sit across from Pamela, eye-to-eye, and truly hold a legitimate review of her outstanding achievements, rehabilitation, and redemption."