Assault On Free Speech

Ross’s libertarian beliefs were forbidden to be mentioned at trial.[1] 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.[2]

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”.[3]

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.”[4]

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.[5]