Now The Leading Clemency Petition for a Federal Prisoner as Americans Call for Justice for First Time, Non-Violent Offender Serving Draconian Sentence
TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — More than 525,000 people have now signed a Change.org petition calling on President Biden to commute the sentence of Ross Ulbricht, a first-time, non-violent offender who was sentenced to two life sentences plus forty years. The groundswell of support has built this into the leading clemency petition for federal prisoners on Change.org.
“Ten years ago, Ross was given an extreme sentence for nonviolent convictions only,” said Lyn Ulbricht, Ross’s mother, who started the FreeRoss grassroots movement to free her son. “The success of this petition shows Americans recognize that Ross Ulbricht’s case is among the most prominent examples of the unfairness and excessive sentencing that infect our criminal justice system and they are asking President Biden to act.”
Ross Ulbricht was convicted on non-violent charges related to an e-commerce website he created known as Silk Road. Intended as a marketplace based on libertarian principles and the use of cryptocurrency, the site prohibited the sale of items that could “harm or defraud” others. However, it became popular for online sales of drugs, most commonly marijuana according to a thorough study by Carnegie Mellon University. Ulbricht was not prosecuted for selling illegal items himself, but for what others sold. Despite similar defendants spending less than two weeks in jail, Ulbricht was given two life sentences plus forty years without parole.
The sentence was immediately recognized as unjust and over the last decade hundreds of thousands of Americans have spoken out to demand justice for Ulbricht. Now Prominent law enforcement officials, business leaders, political figures, community activists and criminal justice reformers have called on the president to offer Ross mercy.
While serving his sentence, Ross Ulbricht has focused on helping his fellow prisoners by tutoring, teaching classes, mediating conflicts, and serving as a suicide watch companion. In 2021, Ulbricht’s art was auctioned as an NFT (nonfungible token) called Genesis Collection (NFT). Part of the proceeds have been dedicated to Art4Giving, a charitable fund his family created to provide grants to non-profit organizations that contribute to the lives of people impacted by the criminal justice system. To date, Art4Giving has donated nearly $400,000 to charity.
“We are so encouraged by the support Ross has received from so many,” concluded Lyn Ulbricht. “We fervently hope that this outcry not only shines a light on the injustice of Ross’s sentencing, but on that of so many others who are being warehoused in prison way too long. We pray that the president will use his authority to make this right.”
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SOURCE Ross Ulbricht Legal Defense Fund