A Connecticut socialite who confessed to secretly filming a child and two other people in a sexual situation at her seaside mansion was released from prison Wednesday after serving 90 days in the case that remained secret.
Hadley Palmer, 53, could still face additional time behind bars if she is convicted in August of three counts of voyeurism and risk of injury to a minor.
Palmer had pleaded guilty in January to the reduced charges — and as part of the deal with the state, she agreed to serve the minimum 90 days in 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 that Palmer filmed people naked or in their underwear with “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 charges of employing a minor for an obscene execution and possession of child pornography.
Palmer’s unspecified voyeuristic crimes took place at her home in Greenwich in 2017 and also led to police child psychologist Dr. Jerome Brodlie was arrested for failing to report abuse, neglect or injury to a child.
Judge John Blawie of the State Superior Court asked prosecutors on Wednesday whether Palmer’s time behind bars was “sufficient in terms of the period of incarceration you’ll be asking for at the time of sentencing,” the report said.
“Absolutely not,” Cummings reportedly replied.
Cummings agreed to let Palmer use electronic devices pending her sentence, as long as the cameras on the device were permanently turned off, according to the article.
The case against a mainstay of society in Greenwich has been surrounded by complaints about special treatment of 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 step of protecting the identities of several victims.
The case was first sealed after Palmer’s arrest in October when Blawie accepted the defendant’s request for expedited 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 to seal her file the same day.
The Associated Press reported that Dave Collins objected to the move at a hearing in February, claiming the case was a “second level of justice,” with Palmer using her wealth to “keep things a secret.”
“The public needs to see what happens in this case,” Collins said.
Brodlie’s file was also sealed, and the secrecy surrounding both proceedings raised the eyebrows of attorneys and lawyers.
“I’ve never had a case where I’ve moved to seal the file,” Connecticut’s chief attorney Christine Perra Rapillo said in February. “It is not a practice that you normally see in criminal courts. The presumption in all courts, especially criminal courts, is that the proceedings have been opened.”
A Hartford attorney who specializes in issues of open government and press access agreed at the time that the court’s behavior was highly unusual.
The closing of criminal cases was “almost unheard of,” said William Fish Jr.
“And you wonder what’s going on,” he said, referring to Palmer’s privilege and power.
With AP wires