Ross Ulbricht is better known to many as being “Dread Pirate Roberts,” the man accused of being behind the Silk Road dark web community. Ulbricht was captured in 2013, caught with his hand in the cookie jar during a law enforcement investigation. After being found guilty in a Manhattan court of money laundering, drug trafficking and a laundry list of additional charges, he was sentenced in 2015 to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Several attempts have been made to reduce the sentence and all have been denied. The latest attempt is taking a different tactic, employing the power of social petitions to try and sway decisions.
A Change.org petition was created a few days ago by “FreeRoss.org.” At press time, 9,735 people have signed the petition, which needs to receive a minimum of 10,000. If the goal is reached, the petition will then be sent to the President of the United States for further consideration.
The petition states, “The website Silk Road was an e-commerce platform similar to eBay, where individual users chose what to list for sale. Both legal and illegal items were sold, most commonly small amounts of cannabis.” It noted, “Ross is condemned to die in prison, not for dealing drugs himself but for a website where others did. This is far harsher than the punishment for many murderers, pedophiles, rapists and other violent people.”
FreeRoss.org pointed out that Ulbricht was not allowed a fair trial and that “justice was not served.” Its organizers opined that keeping Ulbricht locked up will cost around $2 million and won’t help anyone.
Additionally, the group stated, “Ross’s appeal points out ‘grotesque disparity’ between Ross’s life sentence—which is unheard of for a young man with no criminal history and all non-violent charges, and the sentences of other Silk Road defendants.”
When Ulbricht appeared before Judge Katherine Forrest, she told him at the time that she would give him “the severest sentence possible.” The only thing that prevented her from issuing the death penalty was the law.
Ulbricht was recently transferred from a prison in New York to the maximum security prison, USP Florence in Colorado. His family said it’s unclear why Ulbricht was sent to that facility, reserved for only the country’s most violent offenders. The prison was the scene of a riot in 2008 that resulted in the deaths of two inmates. Currently, it’s the home of Walli Mujahidh who is serving a 17-year sentence for conspiracy in the thwarted attack of U.S. officers and recruits at the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle, WA. His co-conspirator, Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif, was sentenced to 18 years.
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