I know it’s been a while since I posted, but I felt the need to say something today about a piece of news.
Once again, the American justice system has failed.
Ross Ulbricht, the now 31-year-old founder of the anonymous online marketplace Silk Road, known chiefly for its illegal drug trade, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole by Judge Katherine Forrest.
Life imprisonment of a 31-year-old for a non-violent crime. Forrest: You should be ashamed.
The only good news from this: what cash the Feds obtained from selling his Bitcoins at auction will count towards his fines. Fines that are insult to injury. Fines that, despite said sale, still amount to $17,837,921. He and his family are already struggling monetarily to handle his appeal process. How is he going to pay these fines while in prison for the rest of his life, Katherine Forrest? He likely cannot eliminate the debt through bankruptcy, either, so that’s out.
Here’s hoping that the appeal will fare better. Despite his crimes (which, according to available information, didn’t actually hurt anyone), he doesn’t deserve to have the rest of his life taken away from him. At this point, it’s about 50 years, ignoring how awful prison conditions are. If I had the option to not pay for the Feds’ continuing gross miscarriage of justice, I would absolutely opt out. But, as it stands, the United States’ Department of Vengeance continues to believe that imprisoning an intelligent person for his entire life is appropriate punishment for a non-violent crime. Even the domestic terrorist from Norway who killed dozens of children isn’t in prison for life. He wasn’t given the death penalty. That’s because the Norwegian justice system isn’t primitive and tyrannical like the American system.
A life sentence for a crime which only carries such a massive penalty because the Feds wanted to deal with organized crime kingpins whose organizations were violent and who couldn’t be arrested or convicted on other charges? It’s not American. It’s not a fitting punishment. It won’t rehabilitate him. It’s simply keeping prisons in business and the Feds’ power unchecked.