Ross Ulbricht Files Petition for Panel Rehearing

Close up of Business man pointing and signing petition
Just over two weeks following the denial of his appeal, Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht has filed a petition for panel rehearing.

Three years after he was sentenced to serve two life imprisonments plus 40 years for conspiracy to distribute narcotics, computer hacking and money laundering, former Silk Road owner Ross Ulbricht still has some fight left in him.

Just over two weeks ago, the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied the 34-year-old convict’s appeal, but Ulbricht’s fighting spirit has led him to launch another request for rehearing.

Ulbricht’s petition for Panel Rehearing en banc, which was filed on February 7, highlights a number of points that support his request for rehearing.

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First, Ulbricht notes that the trial counsel’s refusal to present him with his client’s complete file not only impeded his ability to exercise his right to pursue the relief offered by Rule 33 but also served as a good reason for the court to grant him a time extension to obtain and go through the aforementioned client file.

According to Judge Katherine B. Forrest, Ulbricht’s quest to exercise his right to Rule 33 is warranted, but should not be misused as an excuse to fish for new evidence or to reignite litigations.

But a previous panel decision shows that the court’s denial of Ulbricht’s appeals may not be construed to be in the interests of justice.

In the prior case, the lying of a juror during voir dire resulted in the reversal of the decision to deny a new trial motion despite the defendant learning of the juror’s dishonesty after a trial.

Ulbricht outlines three more points in his argument to get a trial rehearing:

  1. He was only informed of the government’s use of pen/trap data after a book detailing his time as a Silk Road admin, American Kingpin, came out in 2017. Prior to then, he had no idea that his home had been put under illegal electronic surveillance by the government during investigations.
  2. Upon requesting the pen/trap data, the government blatantly refused to produce it.
  3. The government finally conceded to hand Ulbricht the pen/trap data he needed, but by the time they promised to send it to his counsel, only three days were left before the Rule 33 deadline was to arrive.
Courtroom, Judge, male judge in black mirror background
According to Judge Katherine B. Forrest, Ulbricht’s quest to exercise his right to Rule 33 is warranted, but should not be misused as an excuse to fish for new evidence or to reignite litigations.

It is evident that the panel’s decision to deny his request did not take into account these considerations, which would have warranted a rehearing in several other cases.

Also worth noting is that before trial, Ulbricht’s counsel had attempted to move against the inclusion of evidence from five pen/trap orders that allowed the government to illegally record his internet activity as well as his IP address. This too was denied.

Ulbricht has thus far had a number of appeals denied by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

In March last year, the Silk Road founder appealed two decisions made by Judge Forrest to suppress his motion for a time extension as he prepared to exercise his right to Rule 33 and to deny his petition for a panel rehearing.

The 34-year-old looks to continue seeking a trial rehearing even as the FreeRoss campaign gathers momentum in a Change.org clemency petition to have the former dark web entrepreneur freed.

 

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