New Hampshire High Court rejects Pamela Smart’s last chance at freedom
The New Hampshire Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed Pamela Smart’s latest challenge to her life sentence.
The high court wrote that it had no oversight power to order the governor and his executive council to reconsider Smart’s request for a reduced sentence, which was denied last year. Any authority the court imposes on the commutation process would “violate the separation of powers doctrine,” he explained in Wednesday’s decision.
Smart told ABC last month that the court’s decision would likely be his last chance to get out of jail.
“We are very saddened that our Supreme Court has dismissed the main issue in this case and given the go-ahead for the governor and council to avoid doing their mandatory constitutional work,” Mark Sisti, Smart’s attorney, said in a statement. a press release on Wednesday. .
Smart, who was convicted in 1991 at the age of 22 for convincing her teenage lover to kill her husband, asked the state’s highest court last year to overturn Governor Chris Sununu’s decision. to deny him a commutation hearing.
Now his only chance for release is if the New Hampshire executive branch grants him a reduced sentence or a commutation.
Sisti, who represented Smart some 32 years ago in his widely televised trial, argued in court last month that Smart’s motion for a hearing had not been given fair consideration.
“We don’t know if they even looked at a page of what we submitted,” Sisti told the jury Feb. 14, referring to the hundreds of letters of support and dozens of rehabilitation certificates Smart attached to him. . last call for mercy.
Sisti asked judges to order Sununu, who plans to run for president, and his counsel to re-examine Smart’s case and do so with due process which he alleged was missing. last year when Smart’s petition was dismissed.
Only the governor can decide whether Smart goes free, but there is room for oversight in cases like Smart’s, Sisti argued.
“We have to break the chain of politics,” he added during the hearing.
The court agreed on Wednesday with Laura Lombardi, an attorney with the state attorney general’s office, who said the New Hampshire Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to rule on aspects of a petition for commutation, including how the governor and his council may proceed to consider one. .
Lombardi added that Smart had no legal right to a hearing and had already received “all the justice she was entitled to”.
In his three decades behind bars, Smart has asked for a commutation three times. All of his applications were refused.
“We will not stop our attempts to free Pam Smart,” Sisti added in his statement on Wednesday. “At some point, either this governor and this board or a future governor and this board will have the backbone to sit across from Pam, eye to eye, and really hold a legitimate review of her outstanding accomplishments, of his rehabilitation and redemption.”