Clemency for Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life for a Website
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My son, Ross Ulbricht, is a first-time offender serving a double life sentence without parole, plus 40 years, for a website he made when he was 26 years old and passionate about free markets and privacy. Ross―an Eagle Scout, scientist and peaceful entrepreneur―had all non-violent charges 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 Ross’s case is a miscarriage of justice. Over 250 organizations, eminent individuals and leaders have voiced their 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 case―including the actual drug sellers and the creator of Silk Road 2―received sentences from 17 months to 10 years.
Ross’s investigation, trial and sentencing were rife with abuse. This includes corrupt 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 to anyone. If released tomorrow, he would never come near breaking the law again.
Ross’s life history clearly shows he is a compassionate young man who is widely loved and has much to give. Over 100 who personally know him have written letters testifying to his excellent character and how much he has helped others. These include those in prison, where Ross has shown exemplary behavior, tutored, led classes and helped fellow prisoners.
Keeping Ross caged for life helps no one, will cost taxpayers about $2 million, and deprives society of an exceptionally kind, generous and creative person.
This is Ross's seventh year in prison. He clings to the hope of a second chance. He dreams of a future where he can be reunited with his loved ones, start a family, contribute to society, and inspire change as an advocate for criminal justice reform.
Mr. President, please commute Ross Ulbricht’s unjust sentence.
Learn more about Ross's case at FreeRoss.org.
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