CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected the latest appeal from Pamela Smart, who was convicted of persuading her teen lover and his friends to kill her husband in Derry more than a decade ago.
Smart, 35, is serving a life sentence in New York prison for her role in the 1990 death of her husband, Gregory. In her third appeal, she argued that she was denied her right to her fair trial because of extensive media coverage, but a U.S. District Court judge rejected her arguments in an order made public Thursday.
According to Judge Steven McAuliffe, the appeal mirrored Smart’s previous attempt to win a new trial "except for a few minor stylistic changes."
He said Smart’s case did not meet the requirements for intervention by a federal court.
"A federal court may not disturb a state conviction unless the state court’s adjudication resulted in a decision that was contrary to or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law," he wrote.
Smart also claimed that her Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment was violated because her punishment was more severe than the 28-year sentence given to William Flynn, then 16, who was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting Smart’s husband.
Flynn was a student at Winnacunnet High School when he met Smart, who was the school’s media coordinator. He testified that he and Smart had carried on a steamy relationship for several months, and she finally convinced him he had to kill her husband so they could be together. Two of his three friends also testified against Smart.