My son, Ross Ulbricht, is a first-time offender serving a double life sentence without parole, plus 40 years,Â for a website he made when he was 26 years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Rossâan Eagle Scout, scientist and peaceful entrepreneurâhad all non-violent chargesÂ at trial. He was never prosecuted for causing harm or bodily injury and no victim was named at trial.
This is a sentence that shocks the conscience.
There is a strong consensus that Rossâs case is a miscarriage of justice. OverÂ 200 organizations, eminent individuals and leadersÂ have voiced theirÂ support.
The website Silk Road was an e-commerce platform similar to eBay, where consenting users chose what to buy and sell as long as no third party was harmed (some listings were prohibited). Both legal and illegal items were sold, most commonly personal amounts of cannabis.
Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for selling drugs himself but for creating a website where others did. This is far harsher than the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people. All the other defendants related to the caseâincluding the actual drug sellers and the creator of Silk Road 2âreceived sentences from 17 months to 10 years.Â
RossâsÂ investigation, trial and sentencing wereÂ rife with abuse. This includes corruptÂ federal investigators (now in prison) who were hidden from the jury, as well as prosecutorial misconduct, constitutional violations and reliance on uncharged, false allegations at sentencing. Ross was smeared in the media through false and inaccurate reporting.
Ross was not treated fairly and his sentence is draconian. Justice was not served.
We, the undersigned, seek mercy for Ross Ulbricht. He told the court that starting Silk Road was a terrible mistake that he deeply regrets, that he never intended harm, and that he has learned the heavy price of breaking the law. Ross is not a danger t...