United States v. Yang, No. 21-1059 (7th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Yang pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, 21 U.S.C. 841(a)(1). Before his sentencing hearing, Yang objected to the inclusion of one ounce of methamphetamine in the drug-quantity calculation listed in the PSR. The prosecutor cited an audio file of a recorded phone call between Yang and a co-conspirator that supported the PSR’s inclusion of the one ounce of methamphetamine in the drug-quantity calculation. Yang and his counsel acknowledged that they had listened to the recording before sentencing. The court overruled Yang’s objection and sentenced Yang to 30 months’ imprisonment, 21 months below the bottom of the applicable guidelines range.
The Seventh Circuit affirmed, rejecting Yang’s argument that the district court committed reversible error because it considered an audio file at sentencing that was not publicly available on the court’s electronic docket. District courts routinely review evidence at sentencing that is not publicly available on the court’s docket. The federal judiciary’s case management-electronic case filing system does not support the submission of audio files; like other exhibits not available electronically on the system, audio files are maintained by the district court, which transmits those files to the court of appeals if requested. That happened here.