As many have probably already seen or heard, Ross Ulbricht (aka Dread Pirate Roberts of the Silk Road), was sentenced to life in prison. I assume it was a big win for the government who took 3 years to find a person that prefixed his first and last name to his email address. Then used the same account to post on the Shroomery, where The Silk Road’s existence was first mentioned.
As with most libertarians, I find this conclusion troubling. While the defense will undoubtedly appeal, I can’t see this going in his favor. The federal government is definitely trying to make an example of Ross as they sentenced him to life in prison. He didn’t deal or distribute drugs, he just provided a website for distributors and buyers to setup transactions that didn’t even occur on the website itself. Very similar to the manner of The Pirate Bay, but with tangible services/products. Most of the charges revolved money laundering, but the ones that stood out were the murder-for-hire charges. The same charges that magically disappeared once it came to for Ross to go to court.
If the murder-for-hire charges were true, and he was charged and convicted for it, my sympathy for Ulbricht would be absent. However, as previously mentioned, these charges never came to fruition. It begs the question if these charges were ever legitimate. Possibly, they were part of a smear campaign to potentially and preemptively sway a jury that would be tasked with deciding his fate. It could even be used to distract from the fact that investigating DEA agents were caught, …wait for it, stealing and laundering Ulbricht’s bitcoins.
This case is another example of putting someone in jail for enabling people to make their own choices. The amount of time, money, and resources used to convict a non-violent offender, should be a shameful example for the current state of our civil rights.