STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) — A wealthy Connecticut woman whose criminal case file was sealed from public view was sentenced Tuesday to one year in jail for secretly recording three people, including a minor, in a manner involving sexual desire.
Hadley Palmer, 54, of Greenwich, appeared in Stamford Superior Court, where her lawyer had requested another sealing order — to close the courtroom to the public for portions of the sentencing including her own testimony.
Judge John Blawie rejected the request. Blawie earlier this year sealed Palmer’s case file over objections by The Associated Press, ruling the privacy interests of the victims outweighed the public’s interest in open courts. The judge also ruled that documents in the case file could not be redacted in a way that protected the victims’ identities, which the AP disagreed with.
In addition to a year behind bars, Palmer’s sentence includes 20 years of probation and 10 years as a registered sex offender.
Palmer, who already served 90 days in jail earlier this year, did not speak in court other than to answer yes or no to questions from the judge. She was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.
Her lawyer, Michael Meehan, called the sentence just. “She’s taken responsibility for her actions,” Meehan said. “This is a very caring, loving and sincere human being.”
No victims of Palmer’s crimes or attorneys for the victims spoke.
It remains unclear exactly what Palmer did, because her file remains sealed. Open government advocates and defense lawyers called the file sealing highly unusual.
Palmer pleaded guilty in January to three counts of voyeurism and risk of injury to a minor — all felonies committed in between 2017 and 2018. As part of her plea deal, state prosecutor Daniel Cummings, dropped the two most serious charges — employing a minor in an obscene performance, a Class A felony, and possession of child pornography.
The voyeurism charges against her involved recording someone, naked or in their underwear, without their consent or knowledge, with “intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desire of such person (defendant) or any other person.”
Nearly every week in Connecticut’s courts, people charged with serious crimes against children appear before judges and their case files aren’t sealed. Arrest warrants are generally available to the public, although the names of the victims may be redacted or replaced with pseudonyms.
The daughter of a notable hedge fund founder, Jerrold Fine, Palmer is currently divorcing her venture capitalist husband, Bradley Palmer. She is seen in photos on the internet at fundraising galas and other society events.
Palmer’s case was sealed from public view since arrest in October 2021. On the same day she was arrested, Blawie accepted her application for a special probation program. State law requires case files to be sealed when such an application is made, but the original charges against Palmer made her ineligible for the program because they were so serious.