Appeals court upholds Ross Ulbricht’s life sentence for creating Silk Road(credit: Aurich Lawson)
A federal appeals court has upheld (PDF) a life sentence for Ross Ulbricht. He was convicted in 2015 of being the Dread Pirate Roberts who ran the Silk Road website, the largest Internet black market at that time.
The three-judge panel unanimously upheld the rulings on a variety of issues by US District Judge Kathleen Forrest, who oversaw the trial. Ulbricht’s defense lawyers wrote dozens of pages challenging Forrest’s rulings on the rules of cross-examination, hearsay evidence, and expert witnesses.

But the appeals court ruled in favor of the lower court judge on every count, saying she handled the trial with “patience and skill.”
It’s debatable how much of a defense case Ulbricht would have had even if the judge had ruled for him on all of those matters. The shell of a defense he was left with included “cross-examining government witnesses, briefly calling four character witnesses, having a defense investigator authenticate a task list on Ulbricht’s computer, and reading a few of DPR’s posts into the record,” the appeals judge wrote.
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