Criminal Justice

Prosecutor defends 22-year sentence for theft of remote control

A suburban Chicago prosecutor is defending a 22-year sentence for a man convicted of stealing a universal television remote from the common area of an apartment complex in Wheaton, Illinois.

Eric Bramwell was convicted in November after he represented himself at trial, against the advice of the judge, according to U.S. News & World Report. A press release announcing Bramwell’s sentence last week attracted widespread attention. The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times also covered the sentence.

DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said that, without knowing anything more, the sentence could seem harsh. But Bramwell had confessed to 60 burglaries after his arrest (though he denied stealing the remote at trial), Berlin told U.S. News.

Bramwell also had a criminal record, including two previous convictions for serious felonies, that made him eligible for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, Berlin said.

Bramwell “is a career criminal, and when you commit this many burglaries there’s a huge cost to society,” Berlin told U.S. News. “This is a guy who has gotten probation numerous times, has gotten drug treatment numerous times, his probation has been revoked numerous times. He’s someone where the only way to stop him is to lock him up.”

In November, the judge who sentenced Bramwell imposed a six-month contempt sentence when Bramwell told the judge, “Go f— yourself.”

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