Media outlets in Illinois have reported that a 51-year-old man was sentenced to five years in prison for burglary and theft on April 28 after a DuPage County judge was unconvinced by his vow to change his ways. The man was cited twice for contempt of court for his outbursts during a contentious and lengthy trial, and he observed his sentencing hearing and learned of his fate from the confines of a soundproof booth. The man will serve nine months in the DuPage County jail for the two contempt of court convictions after completing his prison sentence.
The man was taken into custody in July 2015 after traveling to Illinois from Florida. He was on probation for felony grand theft charges at the time, and reports suggest that it was his probation officer who alerted police in Illinois about his plans to visit the state. The man had been convicted in Florida of stealing Lego sets worth about $2 million from Toys ‘R” Us stores. Police officers assigned to follow the man said that they observed him enter 21 stores within 24 hours of arriving at O’Hare International Airport.
The man was apprehended after leaving a hobby store in Lombard, and officers say that they found art supplies worth about $80 concealed on his person. Additional allegedly stolen goods worth about $450 are said to have been discovered in the man’s vehicle. According to media reports, the man will be transported to Florida to face parole violation charges after he is released from jail.
The prospect of spending years behind bars can be a sobering one, but attorneys with criminal law experience may urge their clients to remain calm and avoid making outbursts in court. Most criminal cases are settled by plea negotiations, and defense attorneys may find it difficult to persuade prosecutors or judges to show leniency when their clients are belligerent.
Source: The Daily Herald, “Trial begins for Florida man facing theft charges in DuPage”, Justin Kmitch, March 8, 2017