Clemency for Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life + 40 Years for an E-commerce Website

Clemency for Ross Ulbricht, Serving Double Life + 40 Years for an E-commerce Website

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Why this petition matters

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My son, Ross Ulbricht, is a first-time offender serving a double life sentence without parole, plus 40 years, for an anonymous e-commerce 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, bipartisan consensus that Ross’s sentence is a miscarriage of justice. Over 250 organizations, eminent individuals and leaders have voiced their support for his clemency.

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). Although legal items were sold, it was mostly used for buying and selling drugs, most commonly small amounts of marijuana.

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 much worse offenses. All other defendants related to the case―including the actual drug sellers and the creator of Silk Road 2―received sentences from 8 months to 10 years and nearly all are free today.

Ross was smeared in the media through sensationalized and inaccurate reporting. In addition, Ross’s judge relied on false, uncharged allegations at sentencing. 

Ross 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 to 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 330 who personally know him have written and signed 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 mentored fellow prisoners. He has never received a disciplinary sanction. 

Keeping Ross imprisoned for life helps no one, will cost taxpayers over $2 million, and deprives society of an exceptionally kind, generous and creative person.

Ross is now serving his 10th 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 and make positive contributions to society.

We, the undersigned, seek mercy for Ross Ulbricht. Mr. President, please commute his unjust and draconian sentence.

Learn more about Ross's case at

561,351 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000,000!