Pam Smart resubmits petition for clemency to Executive Council

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Pam Smart resubmits petition for clemency to Executive Council

Union Leader, April 10th, 2019

[The following article is courtesy of the Union Leader]

CONCORD — Pamela Smart has resubmitted her appeal to the Governor and Executive Council for clemency in connection with one of New Hampshire’s most sensational murder cases.

The five-member council was scheduled to take up Smart’s petition for commutation of sentence in December, but the item was pulled from the agenda at the last minute by Gov. Chris Sununu.

That action came after all five councilors agreed that the request for a hearing on Smart’s petition should be resolved by a newly elected council in 2019.

Smart’s attorneys resubmitted the 2018 paperwork on Tuesday, and it will now be up to the current council to decide if it wants to schedule a hearing.

The Attorney General’s office has filed an 88-page letter in opposition to the request for a hearing. According to the letter from Associate Attorney General Jeffrey Strelzin, director of the division of public protection, Smart was properly convicted to a life behind bars and that’s where she should stay.

Smart is not asking for a pardon, but a modification of her sentence to eliminate the requirement that she serve life “without the possibility of parole.” If the sentence can be commuted in that way, she hopes to some day apply for parole.

Smart was convicted by a Rockingham County jury in 1991 of accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and tampering with a witness, in connection with the shooting death of her 24-year-old husband of less than a year, Gregory Smart.

Now 51, she remains behind bars at the maximum-security women’s prison in Bedford Hills, N.Y.

Jurors found her guilty of orchestrating her husband’s murder with the help of a 15-year-old lover and three of his teenage friends, who tried to make the fatal shooting look like a botched robbery. The plot unraveled and the ensuing trial attracted worldwide interest.

Smart appealed her conviction all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case. She filed her first petition for commutation in 2004 and started the process for the current petition in February 2018.

Smart’s mother, Linda Wojas, is hoping the council at least agrees to a hearing.

“I’m 77 years old, and my daughter has been in jail half her life, while the boys who admitted killing her husband are all free,” she said on Wednesday. “Article 18 in the criminal code of New Hampshire states the true design of all punishment is to rehabilitate and not exterminate.”

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