On January 12, 2016, Ross and his legal team filed an appeal with the Second Circuit. Unlike a trial court, an appellate court has no witnesses, evidence or jury. It does not rehear the case, but rather focuses on questions of law, and if the trial was conducted correctly.
Ross’s appeal defends Ross’ due process rights, and thereby the rights of all Americans. The right to a fair trial is protected by the Sixth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The defense argues that Ross was denied this right.
All these issues add up to an unfair trial and violation of Ross’ rights.
Summing it up, the appeal says (page 6):
[All the evidence against Ulbricht] “was permeated by corruption of two law enforcement agents participating in the investigation, the restrictions on cross examination, and preclusion of expert witnesses offered to overcome those restrictions, eviscerated Ulbricht’s defense and denied him a fair trial.”
The appeal also addressed the excessive life sentence.
On May 31, 2017, the Second Circuit denied the appeal.
Ross’ lawyer petitioned the court to re-hear the appeal based on three arguments:
- Ross’ First Amendment rights were violated by the judge at sentencing because she justified the sentence by referring to Ross’ political and philosophical beliefs.
- The warrants used to search and seize Ross’ laptop were general warrants lacking particularity, and therefore unconstitutional.
- The warrantless pen-traps used to track Ross were unconstitutional.
On August 30, 2017, the petition for re-hearing was denied.