A Connecticut socialite who confessed to stealthily filming a child and two other people in a sexual situation in her seaside mansion was sprung from prison Wednesday after serving 90 days in the case that remained shrouded in secrecy.
Hadley Palmer, 53, could still face additional time behind bars when she is sentenced in August on three counts of voyeurism and risk of injury to a minor.
Palmer had pleaded guilty to the reduced charges in January — and as part of the deal with the state she agreed to serve the minimum 90 days at the York Correctional Institution before her actual sentencing date, prosecutors told The Middletown Press. She faces a maximum of five years in prison.
Prosecutors allege Palmer filmed people either naked or in their underwear with the “intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of such person (defendant) or any other person.”
The mother of four and daughter of wealthy hedge fund founder Jerrold Fine avoided being tried on the more serious counts of employing a minor in an obscene performance and possession of child pornography.
Palmer’s unspecified voyeuristic crimes occurred in her Greenwich home in 2017 and also led police to arrest child psychologist Dr. Jerome Brodlie for failure to report abuse, neglect or injury of a child.
State Superior Court Judge John Blawie asked prosecutors Wednesday if Palmer’s stint behind bars was “sufficient in terms of the period of incarceration you will be asking for at sentencing?,” according to the report.
“Absolutely not,” Cummings reportedly replied.
Cummings did agree to let Palmer use electronic devices while awaiting her sentence, as long as cameras on the device were permanently disabled, according to the article.
The case against a mainstay of the Greenwich society scene has been surrounded by complaints of special treatment being applied to the wealthy and connected defendant.
Details of Palmer’s criminal case were sealed from the public in February by Blawie, who claimed he ordered the unusual move to protect several victims’ identities.
The case was first sealed after Palmer’s October arrest when Blawie accepted the defendant’s application for accelerated rehabilitation, which requires cases to be sealed by state law.
It was later revealed that Palmer was ineligible for the program because the initial charges against her were too serious.
Defense attorney Michael Meehan then withdrew her application and filed a motion on the same day to seal her file.
Associated Press reported Dave Collins argued against the move at a February hearing, claiming that the case was a “second tier of justice” where Palmer leveraged her wealth to “keep things secret.”
“The public needs to see what happens in this case,” Collins said.
Brodlie’s case file was also sealed, and the secrecy surrounding both proceedings raised the eyebrows of lawyers and advocates.
“I’ve never had a case where I’ve moved to seal the file,” Connecticut’s chief public defender, Christine Perra Rapillo said in February. “It’s not a practice that you usually see in criminal court. The presumption in all courts, particularly criminal courts, is that the proceedings are open.”
A Hartford lawyer that specializes in open government and press access issues agreed at the time that the court’s actions were very unusual.
The sealing of criminal cases was “almost unheard of,” William Fish Jr. said.
“And it makes you wonder what’s going on,” he said, referring to Palmer’s privilege and power.
With AP wires