“Criminal trials are conducted by ambush. The prosecution withholds as much as possible in order to deprive the defendant of a chance to rebut.”  Joshua Dratel, Ross Ulbricht’s attorney.

In court last Monday, June 2, Judge Forrest questioned the prosecutor in the Silk Road case about the fact that Ross Ulbricht has been deprived — for over two months — of the means to participate in his own defense. When Ulbricht was arraigned in early February, this judge said he was to take part in the discovery process and be provided with a laptop on which to read the government’s evidence. Although the prosecution did submit CDs containing 4.5 terabytes of discovery (and charged $586 for the drives on which to deliver it) Ulbricht does not yet have a computer with software that can actually read it. He has a mountain of data to sift through before his trial and still has not been able to really begin. This could lead to a delayed trial and longer prison time; or a shortage of time to adequately analyze the data. Either way, this is a violation of his due process rights.

Prosecutor Serrin Turner assured the judge that he would resolve this issue “within the week.” By my calculation, that is by Monday, June 9. I do wonder why, if he is able to so swiftly resolve it once confronted by the judge, this wasn’t done a long time ago. And I will be interested to see if this prosecutor keeps his word.