Silk Road

Ross Ulbricht Files Appeal to the Supreme Court on His Life Sentence Without Parole

Silk Road founder's appeal stresses the dangerous Fourth and Sixth Amendment implications of his prosecution and sentencing.

|

Ross Ulbricht was sentenced in May 2015 to life in prison without parole for various crimes connected to his launching the darkweb sales site Silk Road. In May of this year, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his conviction and his grossly disproportionate sentencing.

Ulbricht has now appealed the Second Circuit's decision to the Supreme Court.

Kannon K. Shanmugam, the lawyer managing the appeal, summed up the legal issues that require settling by the Supreme Court in a December memo to potential amici in the case. Even those who might never dream of launching a darkweb site facilitating possibly illegal substance sales should be very worried about how the government convicted and sentenced Ulbricht, he explains:

This case presents two important questions of constitutional law with broader significance for the rights of criminal defendants generally. First, the Second Circuit affirmed the government's warrantless collection of Mr. Ulbricht's Internet traffic information by relying on the third-party doctrine, which the Court is reviewing in a different context this Term in Carpenter v. United States….This case would afford the Court an ideal opportunity to address how the doctrine applies to Internet traffic information.

Damon Root reported from the Supreme Court earlier this month on the oral arguments in that Carpenter case, which hinges on a warrantless search of cellphone records in a bank robbery conviction. As Root wrote:

The government insists that this warrantless search did not violate Carpenter's Fourth Amendment rights because, in the words of the Supreme Court's 1979 ruling in Smith v. Maryland, "a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties." In other words, Carpenter has no Fourth Amendment right to privacy in his cellphone records because he voluntarily used his cellphone, thus voluntarily disclosing his location to the various cellphone towers that handled his calls.

Throughout the November 29 oral arguments, Justice Alito was perhaps the most supportive of the government's position and the most critical of Carpenter's arguments. Justice Gorsuch, on the other hand, seemed extremely skeptical of the government's stance. Gorsuch even suggested at one point that the government's position was at odds with the "original understanding of the Constitution"—not exactly a compliment, since Gorsuch is a self-professed originalist.

Root went on to explain how in the oral arguments in the case, Gorsuch seemed to believe that Americans ought to have a defensible property right in such digital information analogous to the classic analog "papers and effects." As Root wrote, "Gorsuch proffered a property rights argument that might allow Carpenter to win the case." The Supreme Court's decision in Carpenter has not yet been issued.

Shanmugam, a former law clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia, has argued 21 previous cases before the Supreme Court, has had at least five wins there, and has a good record of a 36 percent success rate in having cert petitions granted by the Court from 2012-2015 (and a 38 percent such success rate from 2013-2017).

He says those Fourth Amendment questions related to digital information, ripe for reappraisal, are not the only issue at stake in Ulbricht's case:

Second, the Second Circuit affirmed the sentencing court's determination of facts never submitted to the jury, which significantly altered the Guidelines range and ultimately led the court to impose a life sentence—a sentence the Second Circuit admitted "condemn[s] a young man to die in prison." Several justices have previously questioned whether this kind of judicial factfinding violates the Sixth Amendment. For both these reasons, this case warrants Supreme Court review.

The certiorari filing in Ulbricht's case has not yet appeared on the Supreme Court's online docket. But its primary contentions are that the warrentless pen/trap search orders on both Ulbricht's home IP address and his laptop represent a fresh and more extreme government intrusion into private information than recognized by past phone-based precedent.

Why We Need a Fresh Fourth Amendment Doctrine for the Digital Age

In rejecting Ulbricht's earlier appeal, the Second Circuit held to the "third party doctrine," which says any information you voluntarily passed along to or through a third party, like a phone company (as in the initial invention of the doctrine in the 1979 Smith case, or by modern analogy, internet service providers), is information over which you no longer have any Fourth Amendment privacy right.

Ulbricht's cert petition tries to argue that the Court should at the very least "hold this case pending its decision in Carpenter, which may articulate principles applicable here."

As the cert petition goes on to explain, the pre-existing, telephone-based, criteria to judge the "third party doctrine" in the computer age is one courts of appeals "have largely felt constrained by" and "have signaled the need for this Court to address whether, and how, those precedents apply in the context of modern Internet technology."

In that earlier Smith decision, "the Court emphasized the pen register's 'limited capabilities,' noting that "a law enforcement official could not even determine from the use of a pen register whether a communication existed."

The cert petition lists and quotes various cases in which circuit courts of appeal have clearly questioned whether all the information we are "willingly" giving to third parties in the internet age are indeed things over which we have no Fourth Amendment interest, if the Fourth Amendment is to retain any strength at all in the 21st century.

The very confusion in the lower courts on this question, the petition argues:

only underscore the necessity of this Court's intervention. Calling the Internet traffic information collected by pen/traps today "constitutionally indistinguishable" from the list of telephone numbers at issue in Smith is "like saying a ride on horseback is materially indistinguishable from a flight to the moon": "[b]oth are ways of getting from point A to point B, but little else justifies lumping them together." (Riley, 134 S. Ct. at 2488).

Ulbricht's case is "an appropriate companion case to Carpenter because the Internet traffic information at issue here is broader in important ways than the cell site location information at issue in Carpenter. In addition to allowing the government to determine when petitioner was accessing the Internet from the privacy of his own home, the information gathered by the pen/traps here permitted the government to determine the websites to which petitioner connected, the length of the connections, and the port of transmission of the data. As this Court has recognized, the collection of such Internet information could reveal 'an individual's private interests or concerns.' (Riley, 134 S. Ct. at 2490)." (The 2014 Riley case quoted did apply Fourth Amendment protections to searches of cell phones incident to an arrest.)

The Supreme Court has a great opportunity to clarify further for law enforcement the meaning of the Fourth Amendment in the Internet age, the petition argues.

These are some of the reasons why Ulbricht's legal team thinks the warrantless searches in his case deserve to be distinguished from the telephone records at issue in 1979's Smith case:

unlike in Smith, the government could identify the "purport of any communication" at issue here, because it collected the ports of transmission of petitioner's Internet activity. A "port" is a piece of information used to identify the purpose of a particular packet of data being transmitted between computers….More broadly, an individual's Internet traffic information is far more sensitive than the telephone routing information at issue in Smith. As this Court has observed, "an Internet search and browsing history * * * [can] reveal an individual's private interests or concerns—perhaps a search for certain symptoms of disease, coupled with frequent visits to WebMD." Riley….

Extending Smith and Miller to Internet traffic information would allow the government to access significant information about an individual's Internet habits without a warrant and without probable cause. For example, the government could learn that the individual regularly visits websites associated with a particular political party or sexual orientation, "enabl[ing] the Government to ascertain, more or less at will, [people's] political and religious beliefs, sexual habits, and so on." United States v. Jones…(2012) (Sotomayor, J., concurring)….

What is more, pen/traps revealing IP address information can also allow the government to identify an individual's general location, as the government demonstrated at petitioner's trial….In that respect, the government turned petitioner's laptop into an analogue of the tracking device at issue in United States v. Karo… (1984). In that case, the Court held that the government conducted an unconstitutional search when it monitored a signal from a tracking device in the defendant's home without a warrant.

When agents can gather an individual's Internet traffic information upon only the minimal showing required by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, little beyond their discretion constrains their ability to monitor citizens' private lives. And an agent's choice to exercise discretion is no substitute for clear limits imposed by an impartial magistrate.

The Sixth Amendment Implications of Ulbricht's Life Sentence Without Parole

The Shanmugam memo sums up the legal issues raised by Ulbricht's life sentence without parole. While "Ulbricht's Sentencing Guidelines range would have resulted in a recommended sentence of, at most, 30 years in prison," the sentencing judge considered various allegations that Ulbricht paid for (uncommitted) murders, allegations never actually tried in court. The Second Circuit in his initial appeal "reluctantly affirmed, concluding that the alleged murders for hire separated the case from an ordinary drug crime."

From this layman's perspective, it seems hideously unjust that a judge can sentence based on crimes never proven in court. Shanmugam explains in the memo however that "the Court has previously declined to grant certiorari on petitions presenting this question" (of sentences based on unadjudicated accusations).

Importantly, "Justice Gorsuch has…expressed interest in this issue, and may spur a renewed interest in granting certiorari. Writing for a Tenth Circuit panel in 2014, then-Judge Gorsuch…wrote that '[i]t is far from certain whether the Constitution allows' a judge to increase a defendant's sentence within the statutorily authorized range 'based on facts the judge finds without the aid of a jury or the defendant's consent.' United States v. Sabillon-Umana…(10th Cir. 2014) (Gorsuch, J.) (citing Jones)."

Technically, the sentence Ulbricht received was within the range of possible, though not recommended, sentences for the crimes for which he was actually convicted. As explained in the memo:

Even though a particular sentence may fall within the statutory range, the sentencing court is not free to impose that sentence without taking account of the Guidelines range and explaining any variance. To do otherwise constitutes procedural error and results in an unlawful sentence. Thus, even within the statutory range, there are sentences that would be unlawful but for a court's factfinding and explanation. Under this Court's Sixth Amendment precedents [such as Apprendi and Alleyne] those factual findings that justify the otherwise unlawful sentence must be found by a jury or admitted by the defendant before they can be used by the judge to increase the defendant's sentence. The practice of relying on judicial factfinding to sustain an otherwise unreasonable sentence is unconstitutional.

As the cert petition explains, "it is hard to imagine a better example of the consequences of runaway judicial factfinding than this case. Petitioner, a young man with no criminal history, was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for drug crimes that do not ordinarily carry that sentence, based substantially on numerous factual findings made by the sentencing judge by a preponderance of the evidence."

In the 2007 Rita case, the late Justice Scalia and current Justice Clarence Thomas both expressed concerns about judge's imposing sentences that are only reasonable because of "judge-found facts." Both of them in the 2014 Jones case "noted the pressing need for the Court to resolve the question."

"Numerous judges in the lower courts have urged a different approach or specifically importuned this Court to provide guidance, noting the importance of the question and the attendant uncertainty surrounding sentencing practices while the question remains open," Ulbricht's cert petition says. "This Court should grant review and definitively hold that the practice of sustaining an otherwise unreasonable sentence through judicial factfinding is unconstitutional."

Ulbricht's case is a perfect opportunity for the Court to protect the integrity of a justice system that should be sentencing based only on facts considered and proven in court.

As Ulbricht said to the District Court in his initial trial, "I remember clearly why I created the Silk Road. I had a desire to—I wanted to empower people to be able to make choices in their lives for themselves and to have privacy and anonymity."

If not for those principles, then at least for the clear constitutional issues raised by the specifics of his prosecution and sentencing, the Supreme Court should take up Ulbricht's case.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

68 responses to “Ross Ulbricht Files Appeal to the Supreme Court on His Life Sentence Without Parole

  1. What are the odds the Supreme Court agrees to hear this? Do they jump at the opportunity to rein in or affirm law enforcement power?

    1. They sure as hell did after the pro-choice Libertarian Party got that electoral vote in ’73.

    2. Start earning $90/hourly for working online from your home for few hours each day… Get regular payment on a weekly basis… All you need is a computer, internet connection and a litte free time…
      Read more here,….. http://www.startonlinejob.com

    3. Start earning $90/hourly for working online from your home for few hours each day… Get regular payment on a weekly basis… All you need is a computer, internet connection and a litte free time…
      Read more here,….. http://www.startonlinejob.com

  2. “Judge-found facts” seems like a ridiculous concept that directly flaunts the 6th Amendment. The Jury convicted you of X, so now the Judge imposes a sentence for Y.

    FYTW

    It’s bad enough when during sentencing the Jury takes into account crimes that were not proven in court. At least there it’s still the Jury making the decision.

    1. As usual, Reason is giving a skewed version of the facts.

      Ulbricht’s lawyer attempted to argue for a lesser sentence by claiming Silk Road prevented harms, and the prosecution countered that argument by claiming that it caused deaths. Neither side had to prove their claims beyond a reasonable doubt. Are you saying that the judge should have forbidden the prosecution from countering the claims of the defense?

      1. The extra-judicial “facts” being considered were a claim of attempted murder-for-hire. A crime that was not adjudicated in the court or heard by the jury. The judge, after the case was over, expressed disdain at Ulbricht’s freedom based philosophy and sentenced him to die for that… not the drug sales or there negative impacts (or the lessening of negative impacts vis-a-vis Ulbricht’s claim of safer drug commerce).

        1. I read the written conversations between whoever “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR) was at the time of this murder-for hire exchange, and the person who was supposedly being hired. What I concluded is that both sides of the conversation were written by the same person. Same turn of phrase, same idiom usage, same errors in grammar, same flow and style in general. It is hard to believe that one side of the conversation was a leather-clad biker in Canada and the other a young man in Texas. This “murder for hire” conversation was crafted by someone: a fiction, not real. That conclusion I have made is consistent with the known facts that the people supposedly targeted don’t exist and that the addresses noted in the exchange don’t have relevant people living in them. The G didn’t prosecute those charges, but nonetheless used these entirely unsubstantiated crimes that didn’t exist against Ross Ulbricht in getting the judge to levy a sentence that was designed to teach the rest of us (who might dare to try to create peace in the world) to obey the all-powerful and all-knowing police state.

          1. That’s interesting. Do you have any links to documentation of your work?

            1. This site has a great timeline and exhaustive resources on this case, including the transcripts mentioned by the other poster.

              http://antilop.cc/sr/

  3. Imagine this political prisoner getting some level of justice thanks to Gorsuch and the man who nominated him. Heads will explode.

    1. If he didn’t want such a long sentence he shouldn’t have tried to have people killed. Literally.

      1. You retard. Actual murderers get out of jail on parole after partially serving their sentence. Was Ulrich charged with even attempted murder? You truly are special, Tony.

        1. So it’s a cause celebre in libertarian circles to try to get a reduced sentence on a guy who, in addition to his other very serious crimes, tried to get people murdered (not convicted of but factored into his sentence)? I think almost all criminal sentences in the US are unjust. But there are millions upon millions of them. Is it just because this guy kinda shared your political beliefs?

          1. By “other very serious crimes,” are you referring to creating the technical infrastructure to facilitate drug transactions between willing participants?

            1. Which is a very serious crime, is it not?

              1. They’re all serious once Chuck Schumer realizes he can get camera time off them.

              2. A crime is something that initiates the use of force against an individual. Timothy Leary, for instance was the victim of several crimes, but that sufficed to keep Californians from having the opportunity to elect him governor.

              3. Actually, it’s not. Read the DMCA.

          2. May you be convicted of crimes no one ever even tried to PROVE you committed. Any idiot like you deserves it more than anyone else.

          3. If the court wants to sentence based on “tried to get people murdered”, the prosecutor needs to prove to the jury that he tried to get people murdered.

            But if you’re OK with the fact that he’s been sentenced to life in prison for something that would normally carry a 30 year sentence, you should be OK with it if, when the cops ticket you for jaywalking, you get a $10K fine and a year in prison because somebody says you also drove drunk.

            1. As I said, I’d be hard pressed to find a criminal sentence in this country that I find too lenient.

              1. Sheriff Joe?

              2. I hope you enjoy that when you stand in front of your sentencing judge.

          4. Tony|12.27.17 @ 4:44PM|#
            “a guy who, […] tried to get people murdered”

            Slimy piece of shit lying once more.
            Turd, Tony; is there a difference? Are either of those sub-human shitbags capable of posting something other than lies?

            1. Yes,

              A turd eventually stops stinking

      2. OMG, you’re special! Never happened, and the state never tried to prove it did.

      3. Are you just making up charges and convictions in your head?

      4. The alleged crime of murder would be very serious indeed if there was enough evidence to bring a trial against Ulbricht for it. Turns out that the victim of the alleged crime never actually existed (yes, I read the supposed interactions between Ulbricht and organized crime members about a hit). The whole thing was made up by law enforcement. That’s why they never tried him for it, and that’s why it shouldn’t have been considered in the sentencing. Not only that, but the LEO’s in question, who were convicted of crimes for their corruption in attempting to frame Ulbricht, were never mentioned in the trial. Potentially exculpatory evidence was not shared with the defense. The whole thing stinks.

        1. BillBradsky–I completely agree with you. The whole things STINKS. On top of what you said, involved federal agents were subsequently convicted of absconding with Bitcoin from their shenanigans. One wonders about the guy in NJ who these same agents had fingered earlier as Dread Pirate Roberts. Did that guy pay the agents off and redirect? And the interaction between DPR (probably not Ulbricht at the time) and the biker-hitman was written my one person, not two. Fiction. Horrible miscarriage of justice here, sticking a guy in prison for the crime of helping peaceful commerce.

      5. Ross is a political prisoner and your reference is invalid because it was a clear case of entrapment by corrupt DEA agents who themselves are now locked in prison, but on much shorter sentences. If this weren’t a case of political vendettas, the charges would have been thrown out or a new trial granted based on DEA misconduct alone.

      6. “If he didn’t want such a long sentence he shouldn’t have tried to have people killed. Literally.”

        Ulbricht was never indicted on those charges–much less tried or convicted.

        Those charges were dropped.

        https://www.dailydot.com/crime/ silk-road-murder-charges-ross-ulbricht/

        For those of you who don’t know Tony, he’s a troll that frequently makes up facts on the fly, either that or he’s so woefully uninformed on so many topics–there’s really no way to tell.

  4. Whether Ulbricht is guilty of what he was charged with may still be an open question, but there’s no question in my mind that he did not get a fair trial.

    “But nowhere, either below or here, has Ulbricht explained, other than in the most conclusory way, how the corruption of two agents?who neither testified at his trial nor generated the evidence against him?tended to disprove that he was running Silk Road from his laptop.”

    —-Preet Bharara via Ars Technica

    https://tinyurl.com/yc4ud3av

    To recap, two of the government’s investigators tried to blackmail Ulbricht, saying that they would frame him if he didn’t pay up. Both of these investigators were subsequently tried and convicted and were sentenced to prison.

    The fact that these men were convicted for threatening to frame Ulbricht was not revealed to Ulbricht’s defense team until after Ulbricht was convicted. Therefore, the jury that convicted Ulbricht was not aware of potentially exculpatory evidence.

    To be painfully obvious, it is the responsibility of the jury–not U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara–to weigh the credibility of witness testimony. If the Department of Justice failed to share pertinent evidence so that the jury could consider it, then Ulbricht deserves a new trial–at the very least.

    Some members of the investigation team at the FBI threatened to frame the defendant–what potential juror thinks that isn’t information worthy of consideration?!

    1. Two unanswered questions about Preet Bharara’s statement above:

      Question 1: If Preet Bahara didn’t know about the corruption investigation before or during the Ubricht trial, then why didn’t he use those corrupt investigators’ testimony or evidence at trial?

      Doesn’t that suggest that Baharara must have known about the corruption investigation?

      Question 2: How is it possible that the corrupt investigators had evidence that was so compelling it could be used to extort Ubricht–but insufficiently compelling to use at trial?

      1. Wading into facts of the case, but I’m not sure investigators’ corruption is probative of whether defendant committed XYZ, if evidence otherwise obtained still was (maybe that will be determined by SC); would be very prejudicial to introduce that. That an investigator is corrupt isn’t precisely exculpatory.

        1. However, that an investigator is corrupt, casts doubt on the credibility of the evidence itself. In particular, evidence that investigators threatened to frame the defendant, particularly casts doubt on the prosecutions evidence.

          This leads to the same reasons OJ Simpson got off. After the chain of custody on the evidence was proven to be broken, and the investigators were shown to have made racist statement and indeed racist rants with OJ as the topic, the evidence was inadmissible and the testimony of the officers was not credible. Effectively, they ended up without a viable case against OJ.

          The DOJ covered up the investigators corruption because it would have destroyed the case.

          1. I, as a juror, would have considered the actions of the investigators to cast doubt on ALL the evidence presented and would have cause me to doubt the testimony of ALL the DOJ witnesses.

            It would have led me to find Not Guilty because there would ALWAYS be reasonable doubt. THAT is why the DOJ suppressed the information.

            1. The little fact that Holder was attorney general at the time is why the DOJ suppressed the information. Get whitey!

        2. > I’m not sure investigators’ corruption is probative of whether defendant committed XYZ

          Really? Two members of the investigative team were out-and-out criminals, and you don’t think that would raise doubts in the mind of a reasonable juror about, for example, whether they corrupted any of the evidence that was presented, whether other members of the team were aware of or complicit in their crimes, and about the levels of competence and integrity of a team that allowed such members.

    2. That’s not exculpatory evidence. They weren’t witnesses at the trial, so the argument about the jury not being able to weigh credibility doesn’t hold water.

      1. The fact that they weren’t witnesses at the trial is a result of the prosecution failing to share that potentially exculpatory evidence with the defense–as they’re required to do.

        You see the problem with saying that the trial was fair–because the jury convicted the defendant WITHOUT any knowledge of the potentially exculpatory evidence in question, right?

        Holy shit.

        You’re not Tulpa, are you?

        1. I don’t think you understand the meaning of the word “exculpatory”. The fact that these investigators were corrupt doesn’t imply that he was actually innocent, and doesn’t compromise any of the evidence presented at trial.

          1. So what you’re saying is that if two LEO’s threatened to frame the defendant for the crime he was on trial for, who were also later convicted for their corruption; the existence of that crime doesn’t count as potentially exculpatory evidence? The burden of proof in a trial is on the state, not the defendant. If the credibility of the investigators of the alleged crime can be called into question, that is certainly exculpatory. Now whether it disproves he committed the crime is irrelevant, because again the burden of proof is on the prosecution.

          2. That is a stupid statement.

            The actions of two investigators threatening to frame the defendant casts double on the actions of the DOJ in general.

            They are not ONLY individuals, they are part of an organization working collectively on the goal of that organization. The legal term is that they were AGENTS (just as you, working for a company are considered an AGENT of that company when working). The actions of an Agent are considered representative of the objectives of the organization.

            Ergo, the admission by those investigators that they were prepared to frame the defendant, is a reflection of the intent of the organization. In this case, the DOJ.

            1. Consider this presented to the jury,

              DOJ Investigators: If you don’t play ball with us we are going to frame you and send you to jail
              Defendant: I am not going to play ball with you
              DOJ Prosecutor: I am going to send you to jail

              As a juror, would YOU believe the evidence presented by the prosecution? Or would you assume it was a frame, just as they threatened?

              Wow, I wonder why the DOJ hid THIS!

          3. Unless the evidence was collected by the convicted LEOs.

            1. We should add, too, that no one testified in front of the jury that none of the evidence that was presented was collected or handled by the corrupt agents.

              We’re just taking the U.S. Attorney’s word for it. The FBI is under the DoJ, but the prosecutor from the DOJ didn’t collect that evidence. He’s vouching for the word of other people. It’s basiacly hearsay.

              If I’m on that jury and I know that two agents were convicted for trying to extort Ulbricht, I’m not taking the prosecutor’s word for the way the evidence was collected. I want to hear the agents who collected that evidence testify under oath that the evidence presented was found by them–and not the two corrupt agents.

              It seems so basic. The purpose of a jury is to weigh the credibility of evidence and testimony, and if the DoJ doesn’t like having to retry cases because they didn’t share pertinent evidence for the defense to present to the jury, then they should share potentially exculpatory evidence with the defense–as they are required to do.

              This is their job. They’re highly trained. They’re supposed to do their job properly. This isn’t a new requirement. They knew what they were supposed to do and they didn’t do it.

  5. Everything and everyone connected to this case is totally awesome and should get a free pony!

    1. I want a pony too.

  6. Ross wasn’t treated fairly and his case makes American justice look bad.

    I hope they stick to that cunt judge.

  7. The third-party doctrine is an abomination and needs to go. No “reasonable” expectation of privacy in information you turn over to third parties? Reasonable by whose standards? I’d bet 90% or more of anybody you ask thinks it’s reasonable to expect that private information stay private – the people you turn your information over to are acting as your agents, not as independent actors. Your dealings with your bank or doctor or your auto repair guy should be no less protected than your dealings with your lawyer or your priest, the records generated are *your* records to the extent that you are giving them permission to generate those records on your behalf, not as a public document.

    1. Cery good point. By the state’s argument, there should be no legal compulsion on a doctor or lawyer to keep secrets as they are merely a third-party. They may have ethical or contractual obligations, bit there shouldn’t exist any legal barrier to prevent them from handing them out like candy to anyone and everyone.

    2. Further, third party doctrine is in direct opposition to any database hack. How can you possibly prosecute for any divulgemente of information on a network when it is all third party anyway?

      Have it either way, but some consistency in law would be nice so the next DOJ hack isn’t “well, it was on the network, so how could you possibly think it was private, especially when it doesn’t require a warrant to view otherwise”?

      1. That would include Hillary’s server?

  8. Any advice on how to get rid of a shitload of fallen tree branches?

    1. Easy. Tell them to leave.

  9. Don’t have a lot of Hope on this one. The problem with Ross ulbricht and The Silk Road situation is that it was a demonstration of people transacting anonymously. There’s no more bipartisan issue at the federal level than shutting down anonymous transactions.

    1. Who am I kidding, they dont want you transacting anonymously at the local level either.

      1. This is the Internet, you should have no expectation of privacy once you log on. I disagree with that, but it is a factual statement at this time.

  10. Thank you for the update, Reason.
    I donated to Ross’s defense fund, as I have in the past.

    1. That funds lawyers (the pupa stage of Looterus politicon). But libertarian votes are what might spring Ross from the grip of God’s Own Prohibitionists. Remember the amendment proposal? “And congress shall make now laws restricting or abridging the freedom of production and trade?” Pressure toward that is what frees folks like Ross and tens of thousands of other harmless traders. Some argue that single-issue pressure from lawyer-politicians is what perpetuates the prison empire begun with Herbert Hoover.

      1. Dumbass, he was put away by Obama’s DoJ. You can’t even gibber accurately.

  11. The Eighth Amendment prohibition against “CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT” was long ago lifted for drug cases because grandstanding Republicans and Democrats thought it was more important to “send the ‘right message’ to young people” about “drugs” — oblivious to the facts that:

    1) Young people are smart enough to know they’re being lied to and;

    2) The REAL messages they’re sending are;

    .. a) the will of the people no longer counts in the United Police States of AmeriKa and;
    .. b) Hard on “drugs” = **SOFT** on The United States Constitution — and I’m talking soft-as-a-marshmallow-roasted-over-a-campfire kinda soft!

    http://1776spiritus.blogspot.c…..allen.html

    1. Like Chris Christie kind of soft

      1. Hah! Yeah, like that. That obese pig is the embodiment of the Federal Government — bloated, out of touch with the people, and HOSTILE TO HUMAN LIBERTY.

  12. You wouldn’t care about this if you didn’t have anything to hide. Thats just science.

  13. We could try to nominate Ross for President or veep on the LP ticket. Eugene Debs got 3.41% of the vote from a jail cell in 1920. That’s better than we did with the recycled republicans. Imagine getting every Grateful Dead fan in the country to register and vote alluva sudden…

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.