Assault On Free Speech
Ross’s libertarian beliefs were forbidden to be mentioned at trial. After all, his political philosophy supports Ross’s claim that he designed and created Silk Road as a “free-market economic experiment” with an emphasis to protect user privacy, not as a drug market.
At sentencing, Judge Forrest spotlighted what she believed was Ross’s philosophical and political views. She said she found them “deeply troubling and terribly misguided and also very dangerous”.
The judge also stated: “It is also notable that the reasons that you started Silk Road were philosophical and I don’t know that it is a philosophy left behind.”
Clearly Ross’s sentence was, in part, based on political thought and speech. Using such considerations for a sentence violates the First Amendment. This was argued in the Petition for Panel rehearing , but denied by the Second Circuit on August 29, 2017.