Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht Appeals Life In Prison Sentence

Ross Ulbricht and The Silk Road Appeal

Convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht was sentenced this past week to  life in prison for running the online drug marketplace that brought in more than $200 million in sales. Ulbricht’s defense has filed papers to overturn the length of his sentence.

Ulbricht’s defense filed the appeal for both the life sentence and the original conviction to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Hours after he was sentenced, Ulbricht’s mother informed reporters outside the courthouse that he would appeal the decision. His mother then called the ruling “draconian.”

Attorney Joshua Dratel described the life sentence as “unreasonable, unjust and unfair.” He further lamented that “It is based on improper considerations that have no basis in fact or law. Instead, it is purely punitive and completely beyond the range of what drug offenders get in this district, in this circuit, in this country.“

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In March 2014, Ulbricht’s lawyer’s questioned whether he could be charged with money laundering if the government doesn’t recognize Bitcoin as currency. In early August, Ulbricht’s defense argued that his Fourth Amendment rights had been violated by the seizure of the Silk Road and subsequent searches. At the time of the second filing, Ulbricht had yet to acknowledge that he was the founder and owner of the Silk Road.

On March 6, 2015, the defense asked for a new trial after Ulbricht was found guilty of seven charges. Dratel claimed the government had not acted swiftly enough in producing exculpatory material that shed new light on the two motions Judge Forrest had denied in 2014. The judge denied the request, noting that there was “overwhelming” evidence against the Silk Road creator.