It is now nearly four years since Ross Ulbricht was convicted of operating the Silk Road dark web marketplace and handed a double life sentence plus 40 years.
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Since his conviction, a petition for clemency has been filed at Change.org seeking a re-evaluation and reduction of the sentence.
This petition is about the only chance left for Ulbricht to ever walk free with the odds greatly against him.
However, the petition has recently received a boost from an unlikely source—Maine State Senator Eric Brakey, who is currently campaigning as nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in 2018.
The Republican Senate candidate noted through a tweet back in August that he had signed the Change.org petition requesting President Donald Trump to grant clemency.
Senator Brakey also promised to visit Ulbricht the next time he visits Colorado. Ulbricht is currently imprisoned at the Florence High United States Penitentiary.
In a subsequent tweet made a month later in September, Brakey also pointed out the unfair handling of Ulbricht’s case by the U.S. criminal justice system.
With the Senate election coming up in November, the Silk Road founder may have a powerful voice on his side advocating for his freedom.
Senator Brakey added that he would present the issue to President Trump if he wins the coming election.
Silk Road Case Details
Although Ulbricht did engage in a criminal activity, many people share Brakey’s views on the manner that Ulbricht’s prosecution was handled and the harsh sentence that followed.
Ulbricht was convicted on seven counts related to the operation of the Silk Road marketplace. These included narcotics and money laundering.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and sentences in 2017. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied his petition for a writ of certiorari in June 2018.
This prevents Ulbricht from appealing before the Supreme Court, leaving presidential intervention as his only hope of freedom.
The Severity of Ulbricht’s Sentence
According to several human rights groups and activists, the investigation and sentencing of Ulbricht violated his Fourth and Sixth Amendment rights.
The investigation and trial were rife with abuse and notable concerns. There were allegations of prosecutorial misconduct, investigative corruption, reliance on unproven allegations and constitutional rights violations.
These allegations serve as reasons as to why Ulbricht needs to receive clemency or be allowed to appeal his case before federal courts.
Many people including Alex Winter, a film director who made a documentary about the Silk Road, regard Ulbricht’s sentence as unjust and draconian.
It is worth noting that this is not the first petition seeking freedom for the Silk Road founder. A similar petition was started seeking a pardon from former President Barack Obama.
This petition became dormant back in 2015 after receiving close to 2,000 signatures.
But the 2018 petition is gaining traction quick, unlike its predecessor. According to the petition’s Change.org page, more than 92,000 people have signed on their support—and those numbers keep going up as the weeks go on.