Woman who caused standoff gets 4 months for threatening judges, law officials

Posted Nov. 28, 2011, at 2:58 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 29, 2011, at 7:35 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The woman who caused an 8½-hour standoff at her Fayette home in 2005 was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court to time served, or four months in jail, for making threatening phone calls to officials in Maine.

Charlotte Bea Palm, 50, of Cape Coral, Fla., waived indictment in October and pleaded guilty to interstate threatening communications in May. A charge of making obscene or harassing telephone calls was dismissed as part of her plea agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

She was released from the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service shortly after being sentenced by U.S. District Judge Joseph N. LaPlante of Concord, N.H.

Palm was arrested July 22 in Florida, according to court documents filed in federal court. Palm had been held without bail since then.

The charges are linked to an incident on July 26, 2005, when members of the Fayette Fire Department responded to a medical call concerning Palm’s mother, according to court documents. As Palm’s husband, Jason Palm, who now lives with his wife in Florida, left the house to follow the ambulance, he told the fire chief that his wife was homicidal and suicidal.

Charlotte Palm refused to leave the house or relinquish a gun, so law enforcement officers from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine State Police were called to the scene. She surrendered to authorities after tear gas was fired into the home. Inside, investigators found a .22 caliber rifle and a 9 mm pistol, according to court documents.

As a result of the incident, she was charged with criminal threatening and told to appear in state court on Sept. 21, 2005. Palm failed to appear. A warrant was issued for her arrest but it had not been served as of July 2011.

Kennebec County District Attorney Evert Fowle said late Monday that the state charges against Palm would be dismissed.

“This is no longer a prosecutable case,” he said in a telephone interview. “The charges are misdemeanors and the witness is out of state and no longer cooperative. It is not worth spending the taxpayers’ money to bring a witness back to Maine in this case.”

In July 2007, Jason Palm sued the state and Kennebec County officials in U.S. District Court in Portland over the standoff. Acting as his own attorney, he alleged that the police lied about his wife and the standoff. He also claimed that his wife was falsely accused. In September 2008, U.S. Magistrate Judge Margaret Kravchuk ruled in favor of the myriad officials Jason Palm had sued.

The federal charges against Charlotte Palm stemmed from phone calls allegedly made in May 2011 to Kravchuk’s Bangor home, the federal court clerk’s office in Bangor, the home and office phone of an investigator with the Maine Attorney General’s Office, Kennebec County sheriff’s detectives and others who were involved in the standoff and subsequent prosecution and the federal lawsuit.

Because of her threats against judges in Maine, federal judges in New Hampshire handled the case.

Charlotte Palm faced up to five years and a fine of up to $250,000 on the federal charge.

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