Former WHS Staffer Sued Prison for Attack by Inmates
By Patrick Cronin
Hampton Union, Friday, October 23, 2009
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
The New York State appeals court recently upheld a decision that the prison where Pamela Smart is housed is not liable for the jailhouse beating that left her bruised and battered.
Smart, convicted of seducing her then-teenage lover from Seabrook into murdering her husband in 1991, lost her appeal in a case she brought against the Bedford Hills Correction Facility.
The former media coordinator for Winnacunnet High School sued the prison claiming negligence on behalf of prison officials led to her beating.
Smart was attacked by two inmates in October 1996.
A lower court dismissed her claims and, in a decision released on Sept. 22, so did the state's Court of Appeals.
"While the state's duty to an inmate encompasses protection from the foreseeable risk of harm at the hands of other prisoners, the state is not an insurer of an inmate's safety," the appeals court ruling stated.
According to Hampton Union archives, Smart was brutally attacked outside a prison school building by two inmates who reportedly believed she had revealed an affair the two women had in letters to the prison superintendent.
Inmate Mona Graves, who was convicted of killing her boyfriend's fiancee, was accused of grabbing Smart by the hair with one hand and punching her in the face.
The other inmate, Ghania Miller, attacked Smart after a correction's officer restrained Graves.
Both women were convicted of second degree assault based on the attack and sentenced to additional time in prison.
Smart is serving life sentence for enlisting William Flynn of Seabrook to kill her husband, Gregory, in the couple's Derry condominium. Flynn was a 16-year-old student at Winnacunnet High School when he met Smart, who was the school's media coordinator.
Flynn testified he and Smart had carried on a sexual relationship for several months, and she finally persuaded him to kill her husband by indicating it was the only way the two could be together. He carried out the murder with the aid of three other Seabrook youths.
Meanwhile, Smart has another lawsuit pending against the state of New York.
According to court documents, the New York Attorney general's office and lawyers for Smart are currently working to finalize a settlement agreement.
Smart sued the state in 2006, claiming unfair treatment by prison officials after scantily clad photos of her in a cell appeared in the National Enquirer.
In the suit, she alleges that after the photos appeared in the supermarket tabloid, she was forced to spend two months in a 23-hour-a-day lock-down facility.