Pam Smart: NH Executive Council “Denied My Constitutional Rights”
Pamela Smart wants 15 minutes in front of the New Hampshire Supreme Court to make her case, in hopes they will order the Executive Council to hold a hearing on her application to reduce her life sentence.
The Executive Council on March 23 rejected her application for a commutation hearing by a unanimous 5-0 vote. Smart and Mark Sisti, one of her attorneys from her 1990 trial, filed a Petition for a Writ of Mandamus on Friday. Smart argues that her rights were violated by the council's decision.
"The council's refusal to even consider her petition for commutation indicate that Ms. Smart's chances for a pardon are essentially non-existent," Sisti wrote in the petition.
The petition said that the council's rejection also denied her the opportunity to demonstrate she has made improvements to her life that have earned her the chance to rejoin society. Smart has earned several master's degrees, and served as a peer counselor, mentor, and counselor while serving her sentence at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester County, New York.
Smart also said she has accepted responsibility for the death of her husband Greg Smart in 1990 after years of blaming others.
At the executive council hearing, counselor Janet Stevens said she saw no evidence that would gain Smart a commutation.
Stevens quoted from the state's response prepared by Associate Attorney General Jeffrey Strelzin, and said that "Greg Smart's loss of life and the impact on his family and friends far outweighs whatever adversity the petitioner has faced in prison. We must never forget about Greg.'"
The court has three options for its next step. It can either deny the petition, accept and schedule for briefing, with or without oral argument, any question presented in the petition, or order that an answer to the petition be filed within the time fixed by the order.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH