By DAN TUOHY, N.H. Statehouse Writer
CONCORD — Linda Wojas, better known as the mother of convicted murderer Pam Smart, is no stranger to being crowded by reporters and cameras.
But Wojas on Wednesday found herself on the same side as the media — shut out from a private meeting held by the House Judiciary Committee and its special counsel.
This time she’s not the story, just part of the story that has continued to unravel these past weeks like a strange television series. For Wojas and a small band of New Hampshire residents who are angry at the courts for perceived injustices, the last thing they wanted to be confronted with was a closed-door meeting.
"How does it feel to have your rights violated?" said Wojas, standing against a far wall and shaking her head in frustration at the committee meeting in private. "This is unconstitutional what they’re doing here."
The committee, as ordered by the House of Representatives, is charged with investigating whether there is cause to impeach Chief Justice David Brock and other Supreme Court justices.
The alleged misconduct of former Justice Stephen Thayer, and the improprieties of other justices the committee is examining, has already leached into the Superior Court system and lower courts, according to Wojas.
Wojas said she has an appeal for her daughter now pending in federal court, and she has been pushing for a more partial court for a decade. "I think it should be televised, just like they televised the most notorious trial in New Hampshire history from start to finish," Wojas said.
The Supreme Court justices sat on her daughter’s appeal, except Justice John Broderick, Wojas said.
"I don’t think there’s justice for all in New Hampshire. There’s just for some," she said. "Wrongdoing leaches, absolutely leaches into the Superior Court level."
Others who seek judicial reform and those who have complaints against the way the courts operate were equally vocal Wednesday.
"There’s a lynching going on here," said Mary Bonser, a Nottingham resident. Bonser has a long-running complaint against Justice Joseph Nadeau for allegedly influencing a case involving her family when Nadeau, then a Superior Court judge, had recused himself because of a conflict of interest.
Bonser criticized Rep. Henry Mock, R-Jackson, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, for calling special counsel Joseph Steinfield a representative of the committee. She argued Steinfield is representing the people.
Theo Kamasinski, a legal reform advocate who is representing Judith O. Thayer, the ex-wife of the former justice, agreed with Bonser that the committee’s operations should be conducted in public.
"The people are the client," Kamasinski said. "There’s no reason for secret depositions here. That’s a bad beginning going into a secret meeting."
Libertarian Ken Blevens, who is running this year for the state Senate, said he hopes this committee does a better job than the one that investigated the notorious Judge John Fairbanks, who embezzled millions from residents before fleeing the state.
"I’m hopeful the committee this time will do a little better job representing the people and protecting the Constitution," Blevens said.