I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with Ross Ulbricht’s story, but he is the creator of Silk Road, a dark-net marketplace he operated between 2011-2013 that facilitated buying and selling of goods (mostly drugs and fake IDs) for Bitcoin. Ross never handled these goods, only connected buyers and sellers, charging a 10% commission on the sale.
Of course, he ended up being discovered and was charged with a number of crimes including money laundering (duh), conspiracy to commit computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics. The 29 year old libertarian was also accused of five murder-for-hires, all of which were either not brought forth by prosecutors due to lack of evidence or later dismissed by a jury. Despite this, the judge still apparently heavily relied on the accusations in sentencing Ulbricht. For his crime of coding an anonymous online marketplace that was used for hosting illegal goods, Ulbricht was charged not with one, but two life-sentences plus forty years with no possibility of parole. For comparison, El Chapo was sentenced to one life sentence plus thirty years for his crimes.
He appealed the sentence, but the decision was ultimately upheld. His family, as well as hundreds of lawyers, legal experts, and legislators have been lobbying for his release/resentencing ever since, arguing the sentence was grossly excessive to the point of being cruel and unusual.
Although tens of thousands of his 144,336 Bitcoin stash was seized and sold at auction after his arrest, if even a fraction still remains under his control, he’s likely worth billions today.
If you agree that his sentencing was excessive and should be reconsidered, sign the petition below to grant him clemency. It’s less than 50,000 signatures shy of it’s 500,000 signature goal.