Judges Shoot Down Silk Road Operator's Appeal Bid

Ross Ulbricht, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for operating the now-defunct dark market Silk Road, has lost his appeal.

AccessTimeIconMay 31, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 11, 2021 at 1:24 p.m. UTC

Ross Ulbricht, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 for operating the now-defunct dark market Silk Road, has lost his appeal.

Ulbricht's appeal effort began last year after he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in May 2015. That landmark trial (not to mention its controversial nature) ended with Ulbricht being found guilty on seven charges, including ones related to narcotics trafficking, money laundering conspiracy and computer hacking.

In a 139-page decision, the three judges of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit shot down Ulbricht's argument that he was given an unfair trial, as well as his claim that the life sentence without parole was too harsh.

"The district court gave Ulbricht's sentence the thorough consideration that it required, reviewing the voluminous sentencing submissions, analyzing the factors required by law, and carefully weighing Ulbricht's mitigating arguments," the judges wrote.

Ulbricht's lawyer, Joshua Dratel, declined to comment when reached.

The Silk Road was once the world's largest dark market, and an early stage for bitcoin's use as a payment method before it was taken offline in the fall of 2013 following a multi-agency investigation into the market.

It was later revealed that at least two agents involved in that investigation – both of whom have since been sentenced to prison terms – went rogue.

The full court decision can be found below:


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