United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ST. EVE United States District Judge.
the Court is pro se Petitioner Charles Rembert's petition
for a writ of habeas corpus brought pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 2254(d)(1). For the following reasons, the Court
denies Petitioner's habeas petition and declines to
certify any issues for appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
considering habeas petitions, federal courts must presume the
factual findings made by the last state court to decide the
case on the merits are correct unless the habeas petitioner
rebuts those findings by clear and convincing evidence.
See 28 U.S.C. § 2254(e)(1); Miller v.
Zatecky, 820 F.3d 275, 280 (7th Cir. 2016). Because
Petitioner has not provided clear and convincing evidence to
rebut this presumption, the following factual background is
based on the Illinois Appellate Court's findings in
People v. Rembert, No. 1-13-1220, 2015 WL 1441879
(Ill.App.Ct. Mar. 27, 2015), appeal denied, 39
N.E.3d 1009 (Ill. 2015), and cert. denied sub nom.
Rembert v. Illinois, 136 S.Ct. 831 (2016).
was charged with burglary in connection with an August 17,
2011 incident that occurred at J.B. Metals, a metal scrapping
and recycling company located at 2910 West Carroll Avenue in
Chicago, Illinois. At Petitioner's jury trial, Gene
Eydelman, a security manager at J.B. Metals, testified that
the company has a 24-hour surveillance system with 12 cameras
that stamp the date and time of the video recordings. When
Eydelman arrived at work on the morning of August 17, 2011,
several employees told him that someone had used a
sledgehammer to create a hole in the building and had stolen
some copper pipes. Thereafter, Eydelman called the police and
then viewed the security footage. Eydelman testified that
while viewing the surveillance video, he observed two men
enter the building and walk back and forth through a hole in
the wall. He also testified that the two men were carrying
bags. Further, Eydelman stated that he saw video of a Dodge
Intrepid with a broken rear window parked outside the
building and identified Petitioner as one of the men on the
video who had been inside the building. He also testified
that about 300 to 400 pounds of copper pipe, worth
approximately $1, 000, had been removed from J.B. Metals.
Eydelman, the owner of J.B. Metals, testified at
Petitioner's trial stating that when he arrived at work
on August 17, 2011, he noticed a hole in the side of the
building. He also viewed the security footage and identified
Petitioner as one of the men shown in the video using a
sledgehammer to break a hole into the side of the building.
Ricky Davis, a J.B. Metals' employee, also testified at
Petitioner's trial stating that when he viewed the
security footage from August 17, 2011, he recognized
Petitioner as someone who had visited the company a few days
before the burglary. Davis further testified that when he had
seen Petitioner, Petitioner was driving a two-tone green and
white Dodge Intrepid with a broken rear window, which was the
same vehicle shown in the security video. Moreover, Davis
testified that on the afternoon of August 25, 2011,
Petitioner drove into the lot of J.B. Metals in the two-tone
Dodge Intrepid with a newly repaired rear windshield, at
which time Davis recognized Petitioner as the man he had seen
on the security footage. Once recognized, Petitioner fled the
parking lot on foot and Davis chased him onto the street
where he saw two police officers, Chicago Police Officers
Carrilo and Challis. Officers Carrilo and Challis eventually
detained Petitioner a few blocks from J.B. Metals.
Police Detective Rose testified at trial that he arrested
Petitioner and transported him to J.B. Metals for
identification. While there, Detective Rose observed
Petitioner's car parked in the lot. Police transported
the car to Area Four headquarters where Detective Rose
examined the vehicle and discovered small pieces of glass
scattered in the trunk, and two large bags, one of which
contained small pieces of copper pipe.
testified at his trial stating that he did not break into
J.B. Metals on August 17, 2011, and that he had had never
been to the business prior to August 25, 2011. Petitioner
further stated that on August 25, 2011, he drove a two-toned
Dodge Intrepid to J.B. Metals seeking to sell a broken copy
machine. He explained that the car belonged to a friend and
did not contain any bags in the trunk. Petitioner testified
that he believed that Detective Rose planted the bags in the
trunk once the car was transported to Area Four headquarters.
his jury trial, Petitioner was convicted of burglary and
sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, along with three years of
mandatory supervised release. The Circuit Court considered
Petitioner's prior convictions when sentencing him to 18
years. Also, the Circuit Court assessed certain fines and
fees, including a $5 court system fee. In his appeal from
that judgment, Petitioner argued that the Circuit Court
abused its discretion in sentencing him to 18 years and
incorrectly assessed a $5 court system fee. On March 27,
2015, the Illinois Appellate Court vacated the fee, but
affirmed the Circuit Court judgment in all other respects.
The Supreme Court of Illinois denied Petitioner's leave
to appeal on September 30, 2015.
February 2016, Petitioner filed a pro se post-conviction
petition pursuant to the Illinois Post-Conviction Hearing
Act, 725 ILCS 5/122-1, et seq., in the Circuit Court
of Cook County. On March 17, 2016, the Circuit Court denied
the post-conviction petition. Petitioner did not appeal the
Circuit Court's denial of his post-conviction petition.
In his reply brief supporting his habeas petition, Petitioner
explains that he did not appeal this denial because he did
not think he would get relief. (R. 21, Reply Brief, at 3.)
April 4, 2016, Petitioner filed the present pro se petition
for a writ of habeas corpus. Construing Petitioner's pro
se allegations liberally, see Carter v. Duncan, 819
F.3d 931, 941 (7th Cir. 2016), he asserts that: (1) his
18-year sentence violates the purpose and spirit of Illinois
law and that the trial court abused its discretion in
sentencing him to 18 years; (2) the State violated due
process at sentencing by lying to the trial court about