A former West Palm Beach police officer was asked to surrender her badge after she was accused of official misconduct. She will not, however, face criminal charges, so long as she surrenders her police certification and completes a three-month pretrial diversion program.
Nicole Palladino appeared before a Circuit Court judge via teleconference. The judge canceled a jury trial and scheduled a status review of her case for January. So long as the diversion program is completed and the law enforcement certification is surrendered, Palladino will not face any more criminal charges.
Palladino is accused of robbing a man she arrested. She was accused of grand theft, official misconduct, possession of a controlled substance, and evidence tampering. Palladino was fired in 2019 for violating the department's substance abuse policy. She was accused of stealing $1,000 worth of stuff from a prisoner’s property bag.
In October of 2017, Palladino arrested a man who’d fallen asleep behind the wheel of his vehicle at a stoplight. Palladino searched the vehicle, finding a loaded gun and various drugs. These drugs later turned up in Palladino’s patrol vehicle. An investigation determined that Palladino had deactivated her body camera while stealing the drugs.
The man Palladino arrested pleaded guilty drug possession and driving with an unassigned license plate. He served 97 days in jail and had his license suspended for a year.
Official Misconduct Charges
Of the charges levied against Palladino, the charge of official misconduct is the one that would hurt the most. While the possession of MDMA could potentially carry more years, the law will always remember that Palladino abused her position of power for personal gain. This would prevent her from owning a weapon, voting, and more.
Official misconduct is charged as a third-degree felony carrying a maximum prison term of five years. In this case, turning off her body camera to execute a theft of illegal drugs qualifies under the official misconduct statute. She also removed evidence from a crime scene, which is considered evidence tampering, which, when it’s a public servant who’s doing the tampering, qualifies as official misconduct.
Palladino dodged a bullet, likely because of her connections to law enforcement, but it was also her connection to law enforcement that made this a much more severe crime than it otherwise would have.
In a case like this, the best defense would be simply: “I didn’t do it.” Then, you would have to explain how it appears like you committed the crime when you didn’t. In this case, finding the drugs in the officer’s squad car would require linking them back to the original arrestee. The prosecutors offered her a very good deal to get her to surrender her law enforcement license.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’re a police officer who likes to rob drug dealers, you should know that’s a felony. Call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about how we can protect your future from one bad mistake.