Does Ross Ulbricht Deserve a Presidential Pardon?
Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht had his last ditch, “Hail Mary” legal flex dashed as the U.S. Supreme Court denied his final appeal on Thursday, June 28th. The government’s heavy-handed life sentence, along with numerous improprieties during Ulbricht’s case, have many in the cryptoverse feeling dejected. But there’s actually one other, though improbable, hope for Ulbricht: a presidential pardon. Should he get one?
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A Pardon Is the Last Option
In America, murderers have gotten off the hook with lighter sentences than the one received by darknet marketplace administrator Ross Ulbricht, a.k.a. the Silk Road’s “Dread Pirate Roberts.” And cases have been dismissed in this nation for far less than the improprieties occasioned during Ulbricht’s trial, improprieties that saw one Secret Service agent and one Drug and Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent ultimately jailed.
Justice is supposed to be blind — meted out in equal measure at all times. But Ulbricht was clearly made an example of, sentenced to a life sentence for crimes that might typically garner 10, 20, or 30-year sentences. A life sentence in Ulbricht’s case is not only unreasonable, then, it is cruel and unusual, and thus unconstitutional.
Accordingly, as the Supreme Court has just nixed his final appeal, Ulbricht’s last conceivable hope is a presidential pardon. As it stands, U.S. presidents wield nearly unlimited pardon power. So does Ulbricht deserve one? And can a U.S. president, the sitting one or a future one, be convinced of such?
Where Do You Stand?
It’s true, Ross Ulbricht did facilitate a platform where illicit materials were bought and sold. But illicit commerce is something our justice system deals with daily. And said system has acted less harshly against even more egregious criminals before.
Is that threshold of injustice enough to make Ulbricht deserving of a pardon? Bitsonline is running a poll on Twitter asking that very question in a bid to raise further awareness around the case.
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Hop in and let us know what you think. Wherever you stand, dialogue and debate are the starting points. Even if Ulbricht does deserve a pardon, he’ll never get one if a national conversation isn’t started.
If you’re interested in how Ulbricht is faring, check out our recent interview with Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’s mother, who walked us through all the latest threads in his case and his current living conditions in prison.
What’s your take? Yay or nay on a pardon for the Silk Road administrator? Let us know why you think so, wherever you stand, in the comments below.
Images via CBS News, Wired