Ross Ulbricht’s family, legal team and supporters are yet to give up fighting for his freedom and justice.
This is despite the Supreme Court denying his Petition of Certiorari on June 28, which centered on constitutional violations during the investigations and sentencing, and which had garnered substantive support from 21 organizations.
This legal fight has now been reinforced with a new petition created by the Free Ross campaign on Change.org a few days ago.
It had gained over 18,400 signatures by Friday afternoon, and it aims to get to 25,000 total in the coming days.
Ulbricht is currently serving a life imprisonment sentence in an American prison for creating and operating Silk Road, the infamous darknet market website.
An Outrageous Sentence?
Ulbricht, popularly known by his online alias “Dead Pirate Roberts” (DPR), was accused of creating and operating the infamous Silk Road, a darknet site reputed for being a famous drug bazaar, in 2011.
He was later arrested in 2013; a Manhattan Court found him guilty of multiple offenses including conspiracy to traffic narcotics, money laundering and computer hacking.
Ulbricht was later sentenced to life imprisonment in 2015 without the possibility of parole.
Since then, his legal team has unsuccessfully made numerous attempts to try and reduce his sentence.
However, the latest attempt seems to be taking a different course altogether as they look to rely on the power of social petitions in efforts to try and sway the Supreme Court’s decision.
(Read more about Ross Ulbricht’s story in our exclusive interview with his mother, Lyn Ulbricht.)
About the Change.org Petition
Just recently, FreeRoss.org created a new petition on Change.org. The petition soon reached its goal of 10,000 signatures shortly after its release.
The goal has since increased to 25,000 signatures, at which point the petition will then be sent to the United States President, for further consideration.
According to the petition, Silk Road was simply an e-commerce website just like eBay, where users could buy and sell goods among each other.
The petition noted that there were transactions of both legal and illegal products—most notably small amounts of cannabis.
Nonetheless, the petition outlines that the courts doomed Ross to a lifetime behind bars for a drug trafficking-related conviction, which he did not personally commit himself, but rather for a site where other culprits did.
In essence, the petition outlines that this is a far harsher punishment than pedophiles, murders and other violent individuals receive.
In fact, the petition argues that this type of penalty is neither constitutional nor reasonable.
FreeRoss.org highlighted that “Justice was not served” and that the courts did not allow Ulbricht a fair trial.
They pointed out that keeping him behind bars would cost approximately $2 million and would not help anyone.
What’s more, this group also stated that the appeals filed by Ross pinpoint “grotesque disparity” between his life imprisonment sentence—an occurrence previously unheard of especially for a young individual with no previous criminal history—and other sentences issued to other Silk Road offenders.
When Ross appeared in the U.S. Supreme Court before Judge Katherine Forrest, she told him that she would grant him the most severe sentence possible.
As such, the only thing which prevented the judge from sentencing him to death was the law.
Williams & Connolly, Ross’s new legal representatives, also contend that the investigations have been marred by discrepancies, particularly where two rogue agents were charged with corruption for their actions in the Silk Road investigation.
What’s Next for Ulbricht’s Case?
Besides the petition by FreeRoss.org, the U.S. Libertarian Party on July 3 also notably adopted a resolution at its annual convention urging President Trump to pardon Ulbricht.
Ulbricht has been moved from a New York-based prison to USP Florence, a maximum security jail located in Colorado.
However, according to his family, there is no sufficing reason to warrant his transfer to a facility known to house only the most violent offenders in the country.
USP Florence is not new to the headlines for its notoriety. In 2008, a riot in the facility ended with two of its inmates dead.
Presently, the facility is home to Walli Mujahidh on conspiracy charges for the botched attack of U.S. recruits and officers at the Seattle-based Military Entrance Processing Station. He is serving a 17-year sentence.
Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, his co-conspirator, is also serving an 18-year sentence.
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