Silk Road Judge Reviews Research Submitted By The Defense

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The prosecution and defense are at odds as to whether the online black market website Silkroad founded by Ross William Ulbricht saved lives or killed people. The federal judge responsible for sentencing Ulbricht is seeking help with respect to research on “cryptomarkets”.


Katherine B. Forrest - Southern District Judge REc'd 0712

Katherine Forrest, the U.S. District Judge who will sentence Ulbricht on 29 May 2015, said Tuesday in an order that she wants prices, quantities, and other data as regards 10 different illicit drugs that are listed on the Silkroad website. She also said that she would like to review scholarly articles related to the impact of Silkroad on the drug market.

Prosecutors are planning to provide evidence about the six people, at Ulbricht’s sentencing, who allegedly died after they purchased drugs on Silkroad website. On the other hand, the defense team argued, through their filings last week, that the government would not be able to prove that Silkroad was responsible for their deaths. They also argued that Silkroad helped to reduce the violence associated with drug trafficking by creating an online market for drugs and making sellers and buyers anonymous.

Man TypingThis is one of the reasons as to why the judge wants to research the cryptomarkets. Forrest said in her order that she would review the research the defense has cited, but sought help to locate the articles, including “Drugs on the Dark Net: How Cryptomarkets are Transforming the Global Trade in Illicit Drugs” (written by Dr. James Martin) and “Lost on the Silkroad: Online Drug Distribution and the Cryptomarket”.

In addition, Forrest wanted to have a copy of the Silkroad website for herself so as to perform her own searches as regards what was available on the website for sale. A fully functional copy of the website has been reproduced by the government from the server for the purpose.