United States v. Pennington, No. 18-1375 (7th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
Madison, Wisconsin law enforcement investigated a ring distributing methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also called MDMA or Ecstasy, and other controlled substances. An undercover officer bought Ecstasy from Pennington twice in late 2015 and twice again in September 2016; in October 2016, the officer tried to purchase crack cocaine from Pennington, but she lacked direct access to that drug. Pennington pleaded guilty to distributing a Schedule I controlled substance, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1) and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison, within the Sentencing Guidelines range of 10-16 months. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court’s comparison of Pennington to her co-defendant was not a procedural error. The comparison was reasonable and did not exclude consideration of other factors that 18 U.S.C. 3553(a) requires courts to consider. The court did not violate Pennington’s due process rights by relying on inaccurate information. Although the judge made a factual error in explaining the sentence orally, he corrected the error in the written explanation, indicating that the error did not affect the ultimate sentence.