Creator of Silk Road Ross Ulbricht was given a double life sentence without parole on May 29th, 2015. A little over a year later, his mother, as well as himself are working on an appeal for a retrial to try to get the double life sentences dropped due to two of the agents being found guilty of corruption, extortion and theft.
Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’ mother, spoke to IBTimes UK about what they hope to gain by having a retrial, and her complete lack of faith in the U.S. justice system, and what Ross has been doing for the past 12 months of his incarceration. They filed the appeal for retrial on January 12th, and the government has until June 17th to reply. After that the defense can prepare the case.
“Evidence revealing that corrupt government agents had unfettered, high level admin access to Silk Road; and the ability to change, remove and add material to the site; as well as steal over a million dollars, was suppressed and not allowed to be known by the jury. The evidence was tainted and this was kept hidden until after the trial. This is in direct violation of the Brady Rule and against the law. This is a major issue addressed in the appeal, yet only one of several important challenges to the trial and investigation. I am hopeful that the appellate court will rule a retrial based on the fact that this evidence was tainted and that the government suppressed that information at trial. This is important, not only for Ross but for the due process rights of all Americans,” Lyn said in the interview.
When IBTimes asked if she felt that the government made an example out of her son, she replied with this;
“The government made it clear that he was. They said he was to be made an example because he had “developed a blueprint for a new way to use the internet.” At sentencing, the judge said, “If you break the law this was, there will be very serious consequences.” It is demonstrated that the sentence was not really about drugs by the fact that the person convicted as the biggest drug dealer on Silk Road got a ten-year sentence; and the tow corrupt agents received seven and six years. This makes it obvious that this is not about a product but rather about a platform that posed a threat because it relied on the anonymous use of bitcoin and tor, and was a marketplace beyond government control.”
She went on to say that after she witnessed how unfair her sons trial and sentencing went, she had lost all faith in the Justice system.
“I remain hopeful that Ross’ appeal and other similar cases being heard by courts will resolve on the side of fair trials, privacy and individual liberty,” Lyn added.
She believes her son was naïve when he created Silk Road because of his young age; saying,
“Many of us did naïve things when we were in our twenties and I think Ross was one of them when he created Silk Road I’m sure he had no idea what it would become. How could he? He has matured a lot since then. I hope and pray that the courts will see that a life sentence for all non-violent offences is not necessary to chasten him and that they will allow Ross to return to society, older and wiser…It would be a horrible waste to have him rot in prison for his lifetime.”
She described Ross as being a passionate 26-year-old libertarian. His goal was t offer people the experience of free markets. She said that he had created a video game to that end before Silk Road, and lectured on the topics.
“Ross felt that what one puts in one’s body is an individual choice and should not be regulated by a government. However, he also said at sentencing he never intended for anything he did to harm anyone,” Ulbricht’s mother added.
Up until recently, Lyn said that Ross was teaching G.E.D. classes to help other inmates earn they’re diplomas. For now, in his free time he is working on his appeal. He is also said to be studying physics and artificial intelligence, sketching and playing sports. She said he calls regularly and that he is allowed a once a week visit for an hour. He is not however, allowed access to email like other inmates.
She also gave some advice for parents facing similar situations.
“I try to take things one day at a time and not to lose hope, no matter how dark things look. I also try to focus on a bigger picture. For me, this is not only a fight for my son, but for the cause of freedom and our constitutional protections. I’ve seen firsthand how the government operates and I’m alarmed by it and how rapidly we are losing our liberty and privacy. My hope is that my little part is shining a light on this through Ross’ case will make some difference.”
Donate to Ross Ulbricht’s appeal fund at Freeross.org: