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Supreme Court Refuses to Review Ross Ulbricht’s Case

In December of last year, the attorneys for Ross Ulbricht, the convicted creator of the original Silk Road darknet, had asked the Supreme Court of the United States to review Ulbricht’s case in a petition for a writ of certiorari they filed with the high court. But prior to the end of the Supreme Court’s term for this year, the court denied Ulbricht’s petition and refused to hear the case. Ulbricht’s legal team was challenging the conviction and double life sentence given to Ulbricht on the grounds that Ulbricht’s rights protected by the 4th amendment and 6th amendment of the United States Constitution.

In a ruling made last year, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York had upheld Ulbricht’s conviction and sentence. Ulbricht’s legal team appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, but a higher court had decided to postpone making a decision on the petition for a writ of certiorari in Ulbricht’s case only after they issued their opinion in the case of Carpenter v. United States. Ulbricht’s case was not the only case the high court had held off making a decision on pending the ruling in the Carpenter case. As with Ulbricht’s case, in the case of Caira v. United States, the Supreme Court postponed making a decision on whether or not to review the case until the Carpenter case was decided, and that petition for review was also ultimately denied.

A landmark decision relating to the 4th amendment and digital privacy rights was issued by the Supreme Court in the Carpenter case. Ross Ulbricht’s legal team, along with many other people, had believed that the Supreme Court was likely to review Ulbricht’s case given the outcome of the Carpenter case. They believed the decision in the Carpenter case had huge implications for Ulbricht’s case. A supplemental brief had been filed by Ulbricht’s legal team with the Supreme Court after a ruling was issued on the Carpenter case. “The Court expressly rejected the government’s ‘primary contention’ that the third party doctrine adopted by the Court in the context of telephone calls in Smith v. Maryland … should be applied to new categories of information made available by ‘seismic shifts in digital technology,’” Ulbricht’s attorneys argued in the supplemental brief filed with the court after the Carpenter case had been decided.

A group of 20 organizations had filed amicus curiae briefs, also known as friend of the court briefs, in support of Ulbricht’s appeal. After learning of the court’s refusal to hear Ulbricht’s appeal, the Free Ross Twitter account tweeted the news, saying, “SCOTUS denied #RossUlbricht cert petition this morning after holding it pending Carpenter. This is a NO on internet privacy and Ross’s case. Devastating. #freeross.”

“The court is only addressing cell phone tracking and leaving intact the warrantless surveillance of internet activity and using uncharged crimes in sentencing,” a comment made by the Free Ross Facebook account said in a comment on one of their posts.

The Supreme Court’s decision was not the only loss in court for Ulbricht this year, earlier this year in February, Judge Katherine Forrest, the same judge who presided over Ulbricht’s trial, denied a motion filed by Ulbricht’s attorneys which requested an extension to the standard 3 year time period for filing a Rule 33 motion for a new trial. Now that the Supreme Court has denied Ulbricht’s petition to have his case reviewed, it is not known what Ulbricht’s legal team and supporters plan to do next to try and free the man once known as the Dread Pirate Roberts. It is possible that Ulbricht’s legal team could try and appeal to the Supreme Court on other grounds besides the 4th amendment and 6th amendment issues argued in the recently denied petition. Some supporters are hoping to gain attention to Ulbricht’s case and will try to push for Ulbricht to be pardoned or have his sentence commuted by President Donald Trump. The Free Ross Facebook page said in a comment to one of their posts that they were planning to create a petition to the White House in the near future.


  1. If that was his last chance of appeal, perhaps if he considered the thought of what the consequences operating the world’s largest drug market online would be at the time, maybe, then just maybe, his life could have been so different.

  2. Governments hate competition is the only reason he is locked up.

    Fuck the supreme court, who made them the supreme anyway, it certainly was not the people of the world. only a small group. Burn it down to dust i say..

  3. Greg is right.

    Ross knew what he was doing. Ross knew the possible consequences.
    Ross tried to hide his activities. Ross tried to harm others.

    Ross is where he should be: prison.

  4. the arrest was done by illegal means. he may have been a punk and called for the murders of the vendor/snitch in question. he says it wasn’t him, says the chat logs with the LE hitman(as always huh?) prove it wasn’t him. the fbi illegally obtained evidence and illegally watched him, funny that head of the fbi smiles when asked questions huh?!

    • Well said. His arrest & conviction was just to make an example and serve as a deterrent to others from creating DNM’s. This plan has spectacularly failed and Katherine Forrest will deny that to her children (as they are the only ones who she can convince, IF she has any that is….)

  5. He was given life sentences not just for running the worlds largest drug marketplace, but perhaps more importantly, for hiring a hitman to have someone killed.

  6. Or maybe if the Justice System was held to the same standard as the people it judges, natural born unalienable rights held by every United States citizen wouldn’t be attacked and compromised.

  7. Being punished for crimes that one has not only not convicted of but not even officially charged with sets a precedent I am not willing to graciously hand to the US gov.

  8. to all supreme suckers

    Old farts who are in government and other “supreme” posts are afraid, when they saw what young man can do with his PC and mind. They shit their pants so much that they make Ross like example to others. They think others will get afraid of them and do not try to overtake their business. Message to all farts and stupid parasitic government persons: Your time is up, now intelligent people will take over supreme force. Old farts with their contacts and money will be history soon! Nobody can stop this and nobody will. Smart people doesn’t work for government anymore…

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