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Silk Road Trial: Read Ross Ulbricht's Haunting Sentencing Letter to Judge

And read the prosecution's sentencing letter to get a sense of how revolutionary Silk Road was.

"In creating Silk Road, I ruined my life and destroyed my future."—Ross Ulbricht

Admitted and convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht will spend the rest of his life in jail for creating a revolutionary website that made it easier and safer to buy and sell illegal drugs (along with just about everything else). Though Silk Road has been shut down by federal authorities, similar sites have sprung up like magic mushrooms after a rainstorm and, powered by block-chain technology, encryption, and sheer human desire and ingenuity will never disappear again. Governments can (and will) try like Canute holding back the waves to keep people from doing what they want. And like Canute, they will fail, especially when sites such as Silk Road let them do what they in a more peaceful and efficient way.

In the pre-sentencing letter he wrote to Judge Katherine Forrest, Ulbricht acknowledged his guilt while defending the vision he had for the site.

Go here to read the pre-sentencing letter Ulbricht wrote to Judge Katherine Forrest, who ended up more than throwing the book at him. Indeed, she handed down a sentence beyond even what prosecutors (who were no slouches in asking for punishment) asked for.

“The stated purpose [of the Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist. You were captain of the ship, the Dread Pirate Roberts,” she told Ulbricht as she read the sentence, referring to his pseudonym as the Silk Road’s leader. “Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its…creator was better than the laws of this country. This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous.”

Read more here.

Go here for Jim Epstein and Kurt Loder's video report from the sentencing hearing held in New York on Friday. 

Last fall, Ulbricht's mother Lyn Ulbricht talked about why her son's case wasn't simply about his guilt or innocence but about a number of issues related to the future of innovation, civil liberties, and government's ability to restrain internet-based freedom. Watch that now:

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  • Lady Bertrum||

    Damn, it's painful to read that letter. A life sentence for providing a platform for people to do what they do regardless - just making it easier.

    The rightness of his worldview bumping up against his naivety and arrogance is awful.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The main thing that he was naive about was the government. He apparently failed to realize that it is populated by evil vindictive people.

  • Mainer2||

    So....government is another name for the evil we do together ?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Many times, yes.

  • HTuttle||

    The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out... without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
    H. L. Mencken

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    To top off the naiveté of him and others on Tor, it is a freaking US Navy created product!

  • Juice||

    But he was caught through his own little screwup that exposed him. It had nothing per se to do with a flaw in the design of the Tor network.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    This episode in the erosion of liberty has more layers than an onion.

  • SimonJester||

    Onion? Why an onion? Couldn't you say "than a parfait"? We need to learn to love the loss of our liberty. Compare our coming slavery to dessert, that will make it more pallitable. And, as Donkey says, everybody likes parfait.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    It had nothing per se to do with a flaw in the design of the Tor network.

    Or that is just what they want you to think...

  • Win Bear||

    If you think you need to trust the creator of a communications product in order to trust the product, you have already lost.

    Tor is open source and well understood. It has some limitations, but it's fairly good at what it does, and it was revolutionary when it came out. It also wasn't the cause of Ulbricht's downfall.

    The biggest problem with Tor is probably that using it is likely itself considered highly suspicious by governments.

  • ||

    “Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its…creator was better than the laws of this country.

    He is.

    This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, ”

    Nope.

    and very dangerous.

    Well. Not to me.

  • ||

    Fucking judges. Talk about a profession with a real superiority complex.

    This whole trial has reeked. His main problem is that he showed up the entire system.

    People doing what they want? Can't have that.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    and very dangerous.

    Well. Not to me.

    Duh, she was referring to the government.
    He's a clear and present danger to the government.

    Much more so than murderous goat herders.

  • kinghiram91||

    And, the judge was a woman, wasn't she? A Marxist/Feminist, no doubt.

    The Guardian article has another angle on it:
    Forrest rejected arguments that Silk Road had reduced harm among drug users by taking illegal activities off the street. “No drug dealer from the Bronx has ever made this argument to the court. It’s a privileged argument and it’s an argument made by one of the privileged,” she said.
    Social justice has slipped into the courts.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    No drug dealer ever made this argument to the court because the courts would never listen to such an argument.

    Drug dealer: Your Honor, there are more efficient ways. Opening up civil courts for us to seek non-violent judicial remedies, providing platforms where we could operate with discretion-

    Judge: Drug dealer, DRUG DEALER!! Off with his head! Life in prison! For the children!

  • UCrawford||

    What do you call a lawyer with an IQ under 50?

    "Your Honor..."

  • Juice||

    Jesus Christ. She actually said that shit?

  • MarkLastname||

    Well, if she gave him anything less than life, it would've been an example of 'white privilege.' As per prog reasoning, even the ones who might oppose harsh drug laws, this is still progress.

  • Juice||

    Then judges will truly strive for justice

    You give them too much credit.

  • MJGreen||

    The "democracy" comment is what pisses me off. He provided a platform for people to more effectively buy and sell what they want, but if "democracy" says that some of those things are verboden, then too bad! We need to let "democracy" decide what is and is not acceptable for us!

    Ulbricht had to humiliate himself and his beliefs with this letter, and he still gets life in prison from this asshole.

  • Juice||

    No matter what, he was going to prison for the foreseeable future. Why grovel like that in the letter? He could have made a humble statement about how what he did wasn't wrong and how the laws are wrong. No chest beating. Just a calm and reasoned statement. At least he would have that to show the outside world. At least it's something. And it could have had some hay made about it in the news. Maybe change some minds here and there. But no. Please have mercy on me. I now know what I did was wrong and I'll be a good boy now. That shit doesn't work.

    I'm not the one going to prison, so this is easy for me to say.

  • Whahappan?||

    As VG said above, his naivety was regarding the evil nature of the people in government. He continued that error in this letter. Obviously this judge has no interest in justice or mercy, only vicious retribution for defying the government.

  • Eman||

    "tyranny of the majority" is an idea that oughta be taught in elementary school

  • SimonJester||

    he seems to believe that the will of the voters (hardly "the people") makes a thing good by definition. Deontological ethics never sat well with me.

    Remember, "democracy" is hardly a good in itself. It is the most efficient system in whic 51% of the people can enslave the rest of them. S

  • HTuttle||

    Democracy when defined as totalitarianism of the majority.

  • croaker||

    Why bother writing the letter in the first place? He had to have known that he was getting life plus cancer, the letter was a useless exercise.

  • buybuydandavis||

    You WILL respect my AUTHORITAH!

    This is what all government thugs are about, first and foremost - their own power. Any questioning of that power is met with massive retaliation.

    This is what got Eric Garner killed. He told cops that "Every time you see me, you want to mess with me. I'm tired of it. It stops today." He denied their right to bend him over any time they pleased. And he ended up dead.

  • Hooha||

    "Something something or die."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist.

    There's only this world, you idiot. And everyone is better than the laws of this country.

    If this woman was, in fact, being harassed online by Ulbricht supporters, she should have recused herself. But she appears to be as investing in corrupting the justice system as the DEA and Secret Service agents involved in the case.

  • UCrawford||

    Devil's advocate position, if online harassment was all it took to remove a judge then it would be impossible to find any judge for any high-profile case. She should have been removed for her clear personal animus towards the accused. I'm sure that will be brought up on appeal.

  • ||

    Wi Facebook now be held liable for the same crimes that the rapper is in prison for since they hosted the comments that he made on their site that got him in trouble ?

    Napster clones ?

    and et fucking cetra ?

  • Hamster of Doom||

    Depends. What's their political contributions look like?

  • Mainer2||

    Poor old King Canute. People always get his lesson backwards. Tired of flattering courtiers, he showed the limits of his power. Even as King, some things were beyond his command.

  • ||

    We all know that the comments here have become even worse than ever, but at least we're better than Time.

    PoliTecs 20 minutes ago
    This man is DANGEROUS. Typical LiberCon nut job just like his dad!


    He know all our law enforcement including the military has been neutered, all we have is the NSA practically and digitally they are targeting and profiling. Sometimes good and sometimes abused, but to throw the baby out with the bathwater is INSANE!

    Rand states it himself; "we don't need to target specific items, we need to end the whole damn thing"

    No, you JACKA$$, you DO need to target the illegality, THAT IS YOUR JOB! That is why WE THE PEOPLE hired you!



    So its obvious he is playing politics for just another power grab by yet another party we do not need. (while he pretends to be Conservative, then a Republican, but deep inside he's just another crazy anarchist Liber!)



    This man is dangerous to US security. He could and should have targeted those issues with the law, hell, he had a PROPOSAL BY OBAMA HIMSELF to eliminate the very aspects he is targeting to end the whole thing!



    This is BS! We are about to lose the one avenue we have where the application is similar to how much reign we USED to have in the FBI and CIA to go after Communism. And this moron wants to end it.



    Liberalism and Libertarianism is a mental disorder!


    FlagShare
  • From the Tundra||

    ...but deep inside he's just another crazy anarchist Liber!)

    We should be so lucky.

    Ok, here's a challenge: profile the dude who wrote this garbage. Where does he live? What kind of vehicle does he drive? What does he watch and/or listen to? What sites are bookmarked?

    In short, who is this fucking loon?

  • Hugh Akston||

  • Gene||

    Liberalism and Libertarianism is a mental disorder!

    A Michael Savage devotee no doubt.

  • The Grinch||

    I feel bad for the guy and feel like the sentence was a gross overreach, but I haven't been following the case very closely. What about the allegations that Ulbricht tried to/did have people whacked? Are those allegations credible?

  • Suellington||

    Maybe they are, maybe they are not, but the gub threw them into this trial to poison the well. They never charged him with it. They figured it would be easier to just allege it before and during trial and put it in jurors and the public's minds. The trial was a farce conducted by a judge who had obvious contempt for this guy.

  • The Grinch||

    If your characterization is correct, that seems to be incredibly shady. It's interesting that they'd go after voluntary monetary transactions rather than alleged murder. Ah, the drug war, the gift that keeps on kicking people in the junk.

  • Suellington||

    The other fun fact about the trial is that two of the investigators on the case were convicted of stealing money from Silk Road accounts. That was not allowed to be brought into the trial either.

  • ||

    They did indict him for it, they simply never tried him for it. They were, nonetheless, permitted by the judge to bring up the alleged plot during trial.

    It's interesting. Unless you buy the theory that the chat logs were faked, then AFAICT the allegation seems pretty clear-cut (i.e., they're accurate). The caveat is that I haven't read the full logs, just the excerpts.

    The question, then, is why they didn't try him. I suspect it is due to the involvement of Carl Mark Force and Shaun Bridges, the alleged corrupt agents, and it being viewed as ultimately unnecessary to put him behind bars for a long-ass time.

  • ||

    (i.e., they're they seem accurate)
  • MarkLastname||

    So, they never charged him with the deaths in any manner? But mention of the allegations was still permitted? Um objection, sustained, jury will disregard, no? Mistrial?

    So, are courts now basically just the judge's personal fiefdom then? No real rules at all? And the cunt had the nerve to lecture someone else about imagining himself above the law?

  • PaulW||

    He was not convicted of this, so any legitimate court would have not taken this into consideration during the sentencing.

  • JFree||

    Certainly his fantasy of murder-for-hire is very credible. It's on his laptop - the target/reason is identified - and his diary says he took steps to make it happen. Whether the someone else (Hell's Angels) took the other side of that contract is probably impossible (though those charges are still supposedly pending for a separate trial) to prove unless the target is now dead.

    I really don't understand the wet dreams that a lot of libertarians seem to have about this guy or Silk Road. The core of the site was total absolute anonymity. May be 'necessary' because of the product's illegality but there is no such thing as even a contract (much less a free market) where one or both parties are absolutely anonymous.

    I don't get it. Are people conflating a specific value of anonymity (freedom of expression and the protection of it) and thus turning 'anonymity' into some generic good? Are people just attaching themselves to someone who tried to 'stick it to the man'?

  • ||

    Yes, that's why it was so revolutionary. He had a functioning market in illegal goods that was regulated solely by reputation effects between anonymous individuals. No formal contracts. No enforcement. Just user ratings and reviews, of anonymous users! And yet it worked. People pretty quickly figured out which sellers to trust, and those sellers, despite being anonymous had an interest in establishing a good reputation for their pseudonymous profiles.

    It proves you don't even need contract enforcement - all you need are the reputation effects.

  • JFree||

    Not sure that reputation (aka brand name) is really innovative. Econ101 talks about a market structure of monopolistic competition. And in this system, the good reputation someone creates is not even their property. It will be taken - without any possible recourse - by whoever successfully hacks that pseudonym. IOW - all the actual property ends up belonging to the strongest (in this case strongest hacking skills) - not to the one who creates it. Silk Road wasn't around long enough for this and all the other weaknesses/dysfunctions of a completely anonymous system to play out. So in essence, it becomes a wouldcouldshoulda-been martyr to 'the cause'. And given that anarchos aren't usually interested in empirical stuff anyway; it won't even become a good case study but will merely turn into some big symbolic thang.

  • Win Bear||

    IOW - all the actual property ends up belonging to the strongest (in this case strongest hacking skills) - not to the one who creates it.

    Really, you need to lay off your Hollywood fantasies about how computers work. Security isn't like arm wrestling.

    Silk Road wasn't around long enough for this and all the other weaknesses/dysfunctions of a completely anonymous system to play out.

    Silk Road was around for a few years, long enough for people to make tons of money and acquire useful reputations. Even if it was a law of nature that such markets fall apart after half a dozen years, that's enough: they could simply be "rebooted" again and again.

    So in essence, it becomes a wouldcouldshoulda-been martyr to 'the cause'.

    People who do this stuff don't give a f*ck about martyrs. Ulbricht showed that such a market in illegal goods can function and people can make money with it; its problem was that it was vulnerable to attack by government. But there are already technological "fixes" for this.

    Whether these kinds of markets are good or bad for society doesn't matter; they are pretty much inevitable, and government won't be able to shut them down.

  • JFree||

    And the ones that have been rebooted have fallen apart because 'the escrow accounts were stolen'. These aren't mere 'security' issues. They are consequences of anonymity.

    Of course there are markets in illegal goods. There always have been and those markets will continue to require anonymity. And for every new anonymous electronic market in illegal drugs; there will be another anonymous electronic market for fencing stolen property - another for child porn - another for selling slaves or trafficking humans. And the more government cracks down on those, the more pissed off anarchos will become - because in the end anarcho-capitalists are just like the anarchists of old. Desperate to fetishize an ideology that is unrealistic about human nature - and in the end, when humans prove that it doesn't work, they'll resort to bomb-throwing.

    And spare me your faux-cool nonsense about martyrs. Most comments - and all the Reason articles - fellating this guy have all the elements of turning him into a martyr.

  • The Grinch||

    His diary? He may be a really intelligent visionary but even methhead breaking and entering specialists know better than that. Keeping a diary on one's murder-for-hire activities is just absolutely fucking stupid, or crazy, or something. That goes beyond run of the mill bad judgement.

    I still think he got hosed on the drug dealing sentencing but the murder-for-hire stuff definitely cuts into my sympathy.

  • MarkLastname||

    They should've waited to sentence him for life after the murder trial. The judge does not seem to grasp the idea that you can't give someone a life sentence for jaywalking because they were jaywalking on the way to a murder they are alleged to have committed, but you're not sure he will be convicted of. Hence why there's a trial for the murder.

    This should be obvious I think to anyone who actually thinks about jurisprudence.

  • JFree||

    The life sentence was a possible sentence for the crimes he was convicted of. Actually life sentence is probably pretty standard sentence for a senior drug cartel person. Uncharged activities can't be given to the jury but they are absolutely part of the judge's determination of aggravating or mitigating circumstance. In this case, even the fantasy of murder-for-hire is not mere coincidence (as in your jaywalking on the way to murder). It was how he perceived dealing with exposure of his business to 'transparency' - to kill the person 'threatening' that. This is not standard or reasonable business behavior of some hippie pothead libertarian idealist putting up a website so people can be free (basically the defense version of him). If that sort of pathology is standard, it is standard for a drug cartel kingpin or Al Capone (basically the prosecution version of him).

    He was sentenced on the crimes he was convicted of. His sentence was the maximum because the judge believed the prosecution version not the defense version.

  • Cloudbuster||

    It is arguable I have a ninth amendment right to anonymity in a wide variety of situations.

  • Not an Economist||

    I believe that is a separate trial to be done later.

  • Win Bear||

    The allegations are "credible" but hardly "proven beyond a reasonable doubt". Ulbricht says that he didn't write the messages in the chat. There is no other evidence AFAIK. Someone else might have chatted under the same pseudonym, or they might simply have been placed there by prosecutors. So, although "credible" and maybe "likely", I think there is a "reasonable doubt." And that's the problem with victimless crimes and crimes of intent: if you take the legal standards seriously, you can hardly every convict on them.

    Note that this point was never litigated. The allegation of a murder-for-hire scheme was simply used to "enhance" his sentence to life-in-prison. It's next to impossible to prove that you didn't write anything, but Ulbricht didn't even get the chance to do that.

  • Suellington||

    "He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

  • buybuydandavis||

    Or, at least, waiting to be taken to Room 101, he would tell them anything he thought they wanted to hear.

  • ||

    Excellent quotes here

    “I don’t know who Sen. Paul listens to,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “It certainly isn’t the same people I listen to.”
    “There is a pretty long history in the commonwealth of Kentucky of pretty heated feuds going all the way back to the Hatfields and McCoys,” Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, told reporters Friday.
  • DEG||

    “There is a pretty long history in the commonwealth of Kentucky of pretty heated feuds going all the way back to the Hatfields and McCoys,” Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, told reporters Friday.

    Some or all of the McCoys were in Kentucky during Hatfield-McCoy feud. While the Hatfield-McCoy feud is the best known of American feuds, I doubt it was the first in Kentucky.

  • Pinky||

    Nice Josh Earnest calling the state of Kentucky a bunch of backwoods squabbling hicks.

  • Suicidy||

    I wonder if his home is also filled with communist propaganda art. Like his predecessor. Regardless, they are both traitors.

  • Win Bear||

    “I don’t know who Sen. Paul listens to,” said Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “It certainly isn’t the same people I listen to.”

    Enlighten us, Senator McCain: who does a senile relic like you listen to?

  • DEG||

    "In creating Silk Road, I ruined my life and destroyed my future."—Ross Ulbricht

    I understand he has to abase himself to the judge, but he didn't ruin his life. The government ruined it.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Yes.

    He's like a POW or any other captive of thugs looking to end your life. Everyone should realize that his statements were under duress, and in this case to please someone who had absolute and arbitrary power over his life, and was about to exercise that power.

    The judge could have gotten him to degrade himself in any manner that pleased her fancy.

  • np||

    Yeah Jeffrey Tucker was able to have a short phone conversation with him in March:
    http://tucker.liberty.me/my-co.....-ulbricht/
    and it's apparent that this letter was merely his last ditch effort to avoid the maximum sentence. Still, he didn't backtrack in making his original beliefs known despite trying to appeal to the judge.

  • Nosea||

    You would think they would be smart enough to use a guy like that to ferret-out terrorist instead of so harshly sentencing him to life. He was young and stupid, while people who murder get a far lesser sentence. At least he realized, humans do nothing but corrupt anything and everything they get their hands on.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Ha!

    You think the point is to ferret out terrorists? What would they do without terrorists? Terrorists are their excuse to spy on everyone.

    The point was to maintain control and power, which he in some way threatened. Power is always Job 1.

  • Suellington||

    "The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power."

  • kinghiram91||

    Seeking power just for the sake of having it. I can see why. Look at some of the world's wealthiest people. They have net worths extending almost into infinity. What can you buy with all that money? Why, men's souls, of course.

  • SimonJester||

    Frank Underwood.

    Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power. In this town, a mistake nearly everyone makes. Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn't see the difference.

  • Agammamon||

    You would think they would be smart enough to use a guy like that to ferret-out terrorist instead of so harshly sentencing him to life.

    As far as the government is concerned, he *is* a terrorist.

    One of the worst kinds possible - the sort that show that you can do things without the government being involved.

    Government agents don't hate the bomb-throwers anywhere near as much as the 'don't give a fuck' types - bomb-throwers show that we need government, the other types show that we don't.

  • Ted S.||

    You would think they would be smart enough to use a guy like that to ferret-out terrorist instead of so harshly sentencing him to life

    They are the terrorists.

  • jester||

    Where can I buy t shirts with Dread Judge Forrest on them?

  • Pulseguy||

    The government cares deeply about what we do. But, let's face it, they only care about what we do in relation to the money involved.

    The government always is about money. Who gets it, and who controls it. They could not stand the fact there was money flow without the house getting its cut.

    I've heard it said government is show business for ugly people. It is that, but it is mostly business for incompetent business people.

  • Product Placement||

    Money is simply a form of power. The government always is about power.

  • SimonJester||

    Frank Underwood disagrees.

    "Such a waste of talent. He chose money over power. In this town, a mistake nearly everyone makes. Money is the Mc-mansion in Sarasota that starts falling apart after 10 years. Power is the old stone building that stands for centuries. I cannot respect someone who doesn't see the difference."

  • Alan||

    If he lives long enough, Ross Ulbricht will not spend the rest of his life in jail - though it could easily be decades before the public elects him to office.

  • ||

    Admitted and convicted Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht will has been sentenced to spend the rest of his life in jail

    I'm not very hopeful, but nevertheless I wish Reason writers, of all people, wouldn't write as if there's not an appeal taking place.

  • Product Placement||

    And that appeal will be every bit as far as this original trial.

    Ulbricht's actions were an affront to the government's monopoly on power. A stern and frightening example had to be made of him. No appeal will be allowed to temper this.

  • ||

    All things considered - and I didn't follow this story that closely except for what has been reported by Reason - judging from the letter I still think Judge Forrest is a vindictive cunt who couldn't care less about justice.

    And may those idiot commenters Warty linked to find a short cut to hell.

  • DK||

    If Rand Paul is fortunate enough to become the Republican nominee, I want the following question to be asked of him and Clinton and to be so pervasive that the mainstream media can't avoid it:

    "Will you pardon Ross Ulbricht and the 1000s of others who are imprisoned on federal drug crimes?"

  • PaulW||

    Please don't ask him this until he is president. Let him be the Manchurian Candidate that he is.

  • Vernon Depner||

    Meanwhile, the major banks continue to launder drug money by the boxcar right under the noses of regulators.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    A country becomes sluggish and stunted when its laws organically resist the nutrition of ideas that reform punishing moral codes.

  • jorjat||

    My dear, the next five minutes can change your life!
    Give a chance to your good luck.
    Read this article, please!
    Move to a better life!
    We make profit on the Internet since 1998!

    ............... www.Wage-Report.com

  • np||

    Others have already vented my anger and frustrations for me, so I'll post something less depressing:

    His first interview in jail back in 2013, before he admitted to running the site:
    http://www.modernluxury.com/sa.....te-roberts

    The Ulbricht I meet is every bit the same calm, circumspect, and intensely introverted man who appears in a YouTube video taped last December in San Francisco for StoryCorps StoryBooth

    “This is the first time I’ve been arrested,” Ulbricht volunteers. Really, I ask, no DUIs, no college high jinks? “Nope."

    I ask him if he is scared about the future. “Not excessively,” he says. (He seems to have chosen that phrase carefully. When I later quote him back as saying “not necessarily,” he snaps, “That’s not what I said.”) Perhaps some of his seeming zen about the future can be explained by a Facebook manifesto he penned back in 2010: "Is it possible for someone locked in a cage to be freer than someone who isn’t? What if they are free from limiting beliefs and can imagine experiences without limits, while the other limits themselves to a prison of dull routines?" When I ask him if he’s bored in custody, he shakes his head no.
  • np||

    After he was transferred to NY: http://www.dailydot.com/crime/.....silk-road/

    This is a man with no priors,” Ulbricht’s mother said. “No record of violence whatsoever and these are the conditions they put him under. Since then he’s been in the general population and, in fact, has been a very positive influence. He had a yoga class, he’s conducted a physics class. He’s been a model prisoner while awaiting the opportunity to review the evidence the government claims it has.”
  • Agile Cyborg||

    I laud your noble attempt but a life sentence for seeking to seed the future with brilliance literally breaks my heart. Very few places on the internet can even begin to grasp the grim reality of what has occurred to this individual. The existential construct of Reason, its editors and writers, and many of its readers and posters should be extended the warmest universal star glow for the unabashed and unnatural support of the ultimate intergalactic purveyor of goods who never got his spaceship.

  • ||

    It really was revolutionary, because it proved reputation effects via user reviews and ratings are sufficient to stop people from cheating, you don't even need courts or police to enforce contracts. Which is really radical even from a libertarian perspective.

    We're used to saying that you still need property rights and courts to enforce them, but what if all you need is a big information system that tells you who's an asshole, who to avoid associating with? What if all you need is for the entire universe to know who stole your stereo - I'm envisioning a future in which everything has a GPS tracker and an anti-theft system on all their valuables so it quickly becomes easy to identify stolen goods. And then maybe you don't even need courts and prisons, but just a society where people refuse to sell food to theives.

    We're still a ways from that, but Silk Road proved that you can actually have a functioning market among anonymous users with zero legal protections and zero regulation.

  • Bam!||

    We're still a ways from that, but Silk Road proved that you can actually have a functioning market among anonymous users with zero legal protections and zero regulation.

    Didn't eBay already do that?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    eBay users likely have some form of legal protection.

    Definitely not so with starving creatives in cheap apartments on gritty streets needing the occasional altered-state assistance bought from a verified online dealer so as to brain-escape the grind of repetitive existence and also that caviar-weary and rich 32 year-old eating a piada in his shittily-parked Maserati living off a fat trust fund and also many more variants of a multifaceted arrangement of human personalities.

    None of these have legal protection when they engage in behavior the far future will condone quite easily because the motherfucking social tyrants called Republicans and Democrats will likely hold far less power over the technologically-derived society when it outlives the present.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Hazel is a doll.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    I don't know if eBay did it, but ECCIE and ASPD definitely did.

  • Juice||

    The part that yo have quoted above sounds like groveling. Never grovel to the judge. It won't help your sentence but it will make you betray your principles for no reason.

  • Gluteus Maximilian||

    The judge is an Obama appoointee. She sent him to prison for life because he did the worst thing anyone could do in Obama's Utopia. He created something that was out of reach of the government.

  • Agile Cyborg||

    Wouldn't it be fairer to state the 'Federal' Utopia? I can't imagine a Bush appointee being less discombobulated when a brilliant mastermind created something that shimmered harmlessly in the shadows of the future.

  • JPyrate||

    FUCK EM. FUCK THEM ALL.

  • Bam!||

    Uhm, clearly it wasn't out of the reach of the government.

  • JPyrate||

  • Pinky||

    The two letters read like a coerced confession and a mid-level kool-aide drinking henchman's ranting filiality to the leaders prior to swinging the ax.

    Ross Ulbricht is a political prisoner.

  • Billy Bones||

    There are two types of criminals: Those who break the law, and those who attempt to usurp the law. The latter, in the eyes of the tyrants, is the most egregious and cannot be tolerated. Ulbricht absolutely falls into the latter category and must be made an example of to the highest degree.

  • Free Society||

    “Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its…creator was better than the laws of this country.

    Camel shit is better than the laws of this country.

  • morganovich||

    ugh.

    this is like watching william wallace cave in and pledge allegiance to king edward in some awful alternative ending to braveheart.

  • Culverado||

  • croaker||

    Nuremberg PA is an excellent place to have the Drug War Crimes Tribunal.

    20 wood chippers, no waiting.

  • symongeorgia||

    up to I looked at the receipt of $8255 , I have faith that my neighbour had been realy taking home money part-time on their apple laptop. . there uncles cousin started doing this less than nine months and a short time ago paid the mortgage on there home and purchased a gorgeous Chevrolet Corvette . Go Here

    ............ www.MoneyKin.Com

  • CarolJ||

    So this judge is so angry and offended that Ross asserted individual freedom over the State that she threw him into prison for life. Because she could. Which is exactly the problem with the State having massive power over the individual.

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