Aspen man gets 120-day sentence

Wyatt Haupt Jr.
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” An Aspen man was sentenced to 120 days in jail Tuesday after he was convicted on a misdemeanor charge stemming from an incident with a former girlfriend.

Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely sentenced Frank Charles Palmer at the conclusion of an afternoon hearing in Pitkin County Court. The judged also ordered Palmer to serve 24 months of supervised probation and perform 100 hours of community service.

Palmer is to report at 7 p.m. June 9 to the Pitkin County jail. He will be allowed to leave the jail for work during the day. Palmer was free on a $10,000 bond.

Fernandez-Ely issued the sentence after a lengthy hearing in which both Palmer and the victim took opportunities to address the court. The victim told the judge that Palmer should be put in jail for the maximum allowable time ” 18 months.

“I do feel like I was violated,” she said.

Palmer apologized to the victim during the hearing. He also suggested she was trying to get even for an incident a few years ago, in which she was arrested after she broke into his one-time home on Cooper Avenue.

Palmer said she was trying to “get my ex-girlfriend” who was at the residence picking up belongings that were left behind after the duo spilt up.

“It was a very ugly scene,” he said.

A jury convicted Palmer on April 17 of violation of a protection order. The two-woman, four-man jury took about three hours to reach its verdict after a day-long trial.

The violation stemmed from an incident on Sept. 29 in which Palmer made contact with the victim via telephone. Defense lawyer Jeffrey Wertz said the violation was a mistake not initiated by his client.

He said Palmer was home watching a football game when a friend asked to use a phone. The friend testified that he got distracted while using the phone and mistakenly hit a speed dial button that connected him with the victim’s office line.

The friend said he realized the error and handed the phone to Palmer, who happened to be talking about the victim. At about the same time, her voice mail engaged and recorded a six-word, four-second expletive-laced message from Palmer.

Palmer said he quickly hung up the phone. He admitted to leaving the message but said that he was “projecting” or acting out a conversation with the victim and that he did not intentionally violate the protection order.

The incident also prompted Aspen prosecutors to file a charge May 21 alleging a violation of probation. Fernandez-Ely found Tuesday that Palmer was in violation of probation.

As a result she sentenced Palmer to 60 days in jail for violating probation and 60 days in jail for the misdemeanor conviction.