TUCSON, Ariz. (PRWEB) January 30, 2020
FreeRoss.org: A wave of momentum is underway to free Ross Ulbricht from a double life plus forty-year sentence. The FreeRoss team, a dedicated group of loved ones and supporters spearheaded by mother Lyn Ulbricht, has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and build support for clemency. After close to seven years in prison, they believe Ulbricht, a nonviolent first-time offender, deserves a second chance.
A clemency petition (https://change.org/FreeRossNow) launched on the community-driven Change.org website has to date gathered over a quarter million signatures. The petition, addressed to President Trump, is currently the second largest clemency petition on the site. In addition, Ulbricht’s supporters across the country have been attending Donald Trump rallies with signs and fliers, asking the president to commute the sentence.
FreeRoss.org features an impressive collection of over 160 organizations, leaders and figures from across the political spectrum who have voiced support. These include Governor Gary Johnson, Sister Helen Prejean, Noam Chomsky, and the Libertarian Party, which unanimously passed a resolution in 2018 asking the president to issue clemency to Ulbricht.
Other supporters include well-known Conservative and Trump ally Charlie Kirk, founder of Turning Point USA, who shared with his 1.5 million Twitter followers: “The more I learn about Ross Ulbricht and his over-prosecution the more outraged I am about this total miscarriage of justice.” Last month, Tim Draper, one of the world’s most successful investors, said during an interview: “Free Ross! Why put these really extraordinary people in jail? We need entrepreneurs like that guy…We need their energy and their minds and their force…I’m sure he’s done enough time. Get him out!”
Ross Ulbricht’s all nonviolent convictions stem from an e-commerce website he created while in his mid-twenties. Ulbricht was a libertarian and firm believer in personal freedom and privacy. Despite what some media reported, Silk Road was not created as a drug marketplace, but rather as a free market based on the libertarian non-aggression principle. Using then-little-known Bitcoin as currency, users could buy and sell both legal and illegal items as long as no third party was harmed. The site prohibited pedophilia, violent listings, and anything that could “harm or defraud” others. However, the site’s anonymity attracted many drug sales (most commonly marijuana according to a Carnegie Mellon study). Ulbricht was not prosecuted for causing harm or bodily injury, or for selling illegal items himself. Rather, he was held responsible for what others sold on the site. His sentence dwarfs that of all other defendants with similar charges, including Blake Benthall, arrested as one of the two men behind the larger copycat Silk Road 2.0, who only spent 13 days in jail.
In 2018, Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP), National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Cato Institute, Reason Foundation, and 16 other eminent organizations filed five amicus briefs in support of Ross Ulbricht’s Supreme Court petition (https://www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/17-950.html). They challenged important Fourth and Sixth Amendment violations during Ross Ulbricht’s investigation and sentencing and expressed serious concerns over the excessive sentence imposed by District Judge Katherine Forrest. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, ending Ulbricht’s direct appeals.
Since then, the FreeRoss team has focused on gaining clemency for Ulbricht from the president. Lyn Ulbricht said: “We are grateful that more and more people have come to realize that Ross was not treated fairly. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. Ross’s case was riddled with corruption and abuse, and some in the mainstream media smeared him with unprosecuted allegations and other falsehoods. We hope the president will see fit to commute Ross’s sentence to time served. He has been punished enough for a first-time offense.”
Ulbricht has taken responsibility for his mistakes and been a role model in prison while helping fellow prisoners by tutoring and teaching classes.
Many online sources contain sensationalized, inaccurate information about Ross Ulbricht and the Silk Road case. The FreeRoss team has assembled comprehensive, reliable and documented material at https://FreeRoss.org.