Heiress Hadley Palmer, 53, admits crimes against minors

Hadley Palmer. (Photo on the left by the Greenwich Police Department and photo on the right by the Connecticut Corrections Department.)

A Connecticut heiress who confessed in court to filming secret videos of children without their knowledge could serve as little as 90 days behind bars while keeping details of her offenses from public view, court documents say signed by a judge on February 9. .

Hadley Palmer, 53, surrendered to Greenwich Police Department last October after a judge signed a warrant for her arrest. The charges against Palmer all stemmed from incidents in 2017 and 2018 when she allegedly “photographed, filmed and recorded specific individuals without their knowledge or consent, and in circumstances where those individuals were not in plain sight and had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and at least one photograph taken by the accused depicted a minor,” according to court documents.

Palmer made his first court appearance just days after his arrest, according to court records. She informed the judge John F. Blawie that she hoped to enroll in an accelerated rehabilitation program offered by the state during this first meeting.

Upon learning that Palmer planned to explore the program, which allows low-level offenders to avoid jail after their first offense, most of the case files were sealed. Judge Blawie said in a court filing that the initial sealing of the case was not necessarily his decision; on the contrary, Palmer’s decision to enter the Accelerated Pre-Trial Rehabilitation Program “resulted in the case being temporarily sealed as required by law.” In other words, it was the lawnot the to research itself, which both triggered and forced the initial seal.

Ultimately, Palmer did not pursue the accelerated rehabilitation program. Instead, she chose to focus on reaching a deal with prosecutors. According to a plea agreement, Palmer admitted to three counts of voyeurism and one count of causing risk of injury to a child.

On Jan. 14, Palmer filed a broader request to seal the contents of her court filing, and days later she signed a plea deal that prosecutors would recommend no less than 90 days but no more than 60 months behind. bars. This period of incarceration would also be followed by 30 years of probation, and Palmer would have to register as a sex offender, according to the plea agreement documents. A 30-year protective order is being considered involving what appears to be the victim or victims – although their names are blacked out in the file. The order prohibits any physical contact or presence within 100 yards of the named individuals.

Prosecutors wrote in the plea agreement that Palmer could not possess a camera phone, camera, or video recorder upon her release from prison unless she obtained special permission; the defendant is also not permitted to have “unsupervised or overnight contact or communication with minors, including contact or communication with minors using the Internet or any other digital or written means of communication”.

hadley palmer detained

Palmer reported to a correctional facility in early February (inmate file above from the Connecticut Corrections Department) but will not be sentenced until August.

In exchange for the admission of guilt, prosecutors dropped the most serious felony charges of employing a minor in an obscene performance, conspiracy to employ a minor in an obscene performance, and child pornography at the second degree. Prosecutors also agreed not to file any additional charges against Palmer and to drop all charges related to an alleged breach of his bail conditions. This alleged incident happened just days after his arrest. According to online court records, the bail case was proceeding as a separate case.

On Tuesday, the Greenwich Police Department told Law&Crime they were not free to share details of the case, but revealed the three victims were all minors.

The details and timeline of Palmer’s admitted offences, the terms of her bail and how she allegedly violated those terms are a mystery, however, as last week Judge Blawie chose to uphold Palmer’s request to keep the court record sealed. Blawie cited the benefits that sealing the case would have for victims in an aptly titled motion to seal:

In its motion, the defendant argues that the court should order that the entire court record be sealed, as such an order is the only practical way to preserve victims’ privacy. Specifically, she argues that the details of the charges involve confidential identifying information about the victims and that those privacy interests outweigh the public interest in viewing the court file. The defendant submits that releasing the contents of the court file would reveal the identity of the victims within the communities where they reside and that there is no reasonable alternative to granting the defendant’s request. The state agrees, and although this is not a situation where a single stipulation by the parties is sufficient to order sealing, in this case the court agrees.

Blawie then cited PB Sec. 42-49A as its justification for preventing public access to the material. This quote refers to the Connecticut Practice Book, a lengthy document that governs legal proceedings in the state of Nutmeg. The broader wording of this provision generally indicates that the records are open to the public:

Unless otherwise provided by law, there is a presumption that documents filed with the court will be available to the public.

[ . . . ]

Upon written request by the prosecuting authority or the defendant, or on its own initiative, the judicial authority may order that the records, affidavits, documents or other matters entered into the file or filed with the court or in connection with a legal proceeding be sealed or their disclosure is limited only if the judicial authority concludes that such an order is necessary to preserve a specific interest which outweighs the interest of the public to consult these documents. The judicial authority must first consider reasonable alternatives to such an order and such an order must not be broader than necessary to protect this best interest. An agreement of the parties to seal or limit disclosure of documents filed with the court or filed in any legal proceeding is not a sufficient basis for the issuance of such an order.

The section implies that most records can be redacted – assuming that redaction would achieve the intended privacy goals. Here, the parties and the judge agreed not. In sealing the written court documents, the judge explicitly referred to subsection (f)(1) of the aforementioned section of the practice book. This paragraph governs[a] motion to seal the contents of a all court record” (emphasis added). A separate but almost entirely analogous section of the practice book, section 42-49, deals with courtship procedureno court documents.

the New York Times reported that Palmer reported to York Correctional Institution, a women’s prison, on February 4, although her sentence is not handed down until August.

HADLEY PALMER DIVORCE

Palmer filed for divorce from her husband in 2020 (Connecticut Family Court filing).

Under Connecticut state law, two of the charges to which the defendant pleaded guilty carry a maximum prison term of five years; the other two have a maximum duration of ten years.

Prosecutors, however, are asking for a complicated sentence.

According to the plea forms, the state wants to count one (voyeurism) and count four (risk of harm to a child) to come up with a nominal sentence of ten years – but that’s all in theory. Most of that contemplated time behind bars would result in a ‘suspended sentence’ – a sentence that is judicially overturned – after the defendant has served between 90 days in prison or 60 months (five years) in prison followed by 20 years of probation.

Counts two and three (both voyeurism) would carry a nominal five-year sentence, but here prosecutors are comfortable with the entire sentence being suspended. Twenty years of probation are also considered.

Technically speaking, counts one and four would be served concurrently but consecutively with counts two and three – no matter how much that matters given the conditional nature of the sentences on counts two and three.

Prosecutors summed it all up like this:

The intent of this recommendation is to obtain a total effective sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment, a suspended execution after Palmer has served no less than 90 days and no more than 60 months, and 20 years of probation. . . Palmer agrees that she will not oppose this full effective sentence recommendation.

The charge of injuring a child – to which Palmer pleaded guilty – means that at least one victim was under 16 but appears to be over 13. (If the victim was under 13, Connecticut law states that a defendant “shall be sentenced to imprisonment for five years of the sentence imposed, and shall not be suspended or reduced by the court” – and, here, the court effectively suspended the sentence.)

Palmer and her husband, Brad Palmer, have been locked in divorce proceedings for nearly two years, and the court docket portends at least two more years of litigation before they are able to work out the details of their separation. Defendant Palmer filed for divorce from her husband in June 2020. Brad Palmer is also battling two lawsuits related to his hedge fund in the state of Connecticut, according to the court filing.

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