Pamela Smart fights jail infraction over cake knife
Hampton Union, May 18th, 2017
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON — Pamela Smart believes a plastic cake knife could be the difference between freedom and her staying behind bars for the rest of her life.
In new documents filed in her federal lawsuit against prison officials at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women in New York, Smart alleges wrongful discipline and says the infraction on her prison record for being in possession of the knife could hinder her ability to receive a sentence reduction by the New Hampshire governor.
“I have a chance at obtaining freedom and would like to ensure that all efforts are made to maximize that possibility, and absolving myself of these false and unjust allegations is hugely important in those efforts,” Smart wrote in an affidavit to the court.
Smart is serving life in prison for enlisting her then-teenage lover William “Billy” Flynn and three of his friends to kill her husband Gregory on May 1, 1990. A media coordinator at Winnacunnet High School at the time of her husband’s murder, Smart has denied her involvement in the murder and has said that if she had planned to kill her husband, the plot wouldn’t have involved teenagers.
Smart is the only person involved in the crime who is still behind bars. All four teenagers convicted at the time have been paroled, including Flynn, who pulled the trigger. While Smart has exhausted all her appeals and was denied a pardon request hearing in 2005, Dr. Eleanor Pam, Smart’s media spokeswoman, previously stated Smart and her legal team are working on a new petition requesting Gov. Chris Sununu approve a sentence reduction or clemency.
That is one of the reasons why Smart filed a lawsuit in 2015 to remove an infraction from her prison record, according to a recently filed affidavit. Smart filed the affidavit in response to a motion to dismiss the case filed by the attorney general of New York.
Smart claims she was wrongly disciplined in 2012 and put in solitary confinement for 90 days after a guard confiscated a manufactured plastic cake knife in her cell.
“I have been a model inmate throughout the time that I have been incarcerated,” stated Smart. “These infractions work to characterize me as dangerous and lawless. I have never been violent or intended to commit any acts of violence at BHCF. These offenses are simply wrong and unjust.”
Dr. Eleanor Pam said Smart has “every belief” the lawsuit will be resolved in Smart’s favor.
“There was no evidence, then or now, that Ms. Smart is a violent or dangerous inmate and that she possesses no violent or dangerous tendencies at Bedford Hills,” the spokeswoman said.
In her lawsuit, Smart argued that she had the knife, used to cut “soft cakes,” for 17 years and that it has never been a problem until that day. She also alleged the guard did not like her and wanted to punish her as much as he could.
“The item could not be used to cut, as it did not have a serrated edge,” stated Smart.
Smart was sent to the Special Housing Unit for 90 days for being in possession of a weapon and contraband. There, Smart said, she was only allowed out of her cell for one hour per day and could only take three showers per week. She said officers berated and humiliated her, calling her names like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Jason,” the latter name in reference to the knife-wielding character in “Friday the 13th” movies.
Smart later appealed the infraction in which she was found guilty of a weapons charge but not a contraband charge. On Nov. 12, 2014, the Appellate Division upheld the disciplinary infraction, leading to the lawsuit.
While Smart is also seeking an unspecified amount of money in the suit, she stated, “No money could compensate for my freedom.”