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Court dismisses federal lawsuit filed by Pamela Smart

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

February 19. 2018 9:03PM

Pam Smart, shown at her 1991 trial, is accusing New York prison guards of taunting and harassing her while in solitary confinement for having a plastic cake knife. (UNION LEADER FILE)



A judge in New York has dismissed a federal lawsuit brought by Pamela Smart against prison officials alleging she was wrongly punished in 2012 for possessing a plastic cake knife.

Smart is serving a life sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York for coercing four students at Winnacunnet High School in Hampton to kill her husband Gregory Smart in 1990.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court in the Southern District of New York.

In her suit, Smart argued having the knife should not have resulted in her being punished, because it was not serrated and could only be used to cut through soft cake. She also argued the knife was left “in plain sight” in her cell and never considered to be a violation in four prior searches of her cell.

Judge Kenneth Karas wrote in a order dated Jan. 12 that Smart did not provide sufficient evidence showing she was deprived of due process by prison officials, or that she suffered inhumane treatment in the prison’s Special Housing Unit during the 90-day punishment she incurred.

“Nothing in Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint suggests that any Defendant was directly or indirectly involved in causing any physical injury or pain to Plaintiff,” writes Karas. “Plaintiff does not plausibly allege that either of these individuals failed to ‘act on information regarding the [allegedly] unlawful conduct’ or otherwise acted with ‘gross negligence.’ In fact, there is no allegation that Plaintiff complained to, filed a grievance with, or even mentioned this condition to any Defendant.”

Smart alleged in her lawsuit if the “plastic cake knife” incident appeared on her prison record, it could hurt her ability to have her sentence reduced. All four teens involved in the killing, including trigger man and her teenage-lover William Flynn, have since been paroled.

Smart is the only person involved in the killing who remains behind bars.


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