Dear President Obama:
Our 32-year-old son, Ross Ulbricht, was sentenced to double life without parole, for all non-violent charges, in a high-profile Drug War case involving the online market Silk Road. He received a harsher sentence than is often given to murderers, rapists and other violent offenders.
Ross has pleaded innocent to running Silk Road, organizing drug sales and attempting to hurt anyone. In spite of this, he has been made a symbol of the government’s costly, destructive Drug War that has ruined lives, torn apart communities, destroyed countries and cost taxpayers a trillion dollars.
Ross’ cruel and excessive sentence sets a dangerous precedent for punishing future non-violent offenders. With your many pardons you have shined a light on the injustices of mass incarceration, the Drug War and overcriminalization in the U.S. Because Ross has been made a symbol, by pardoning him you would make a bold, far-reaching statement against these injustices that cause so much destruction in our country.
In addition, Ross is someone who can have a positive impact on society. One hundred letters (four by fellow inmates) were submitted to the court attesting to this and Ross’ compassionate, peaceful character. This has also been demonstrated by Ross’ behavior in prison, where he has tutored, led classes and been a general support to fellow inmates.
Ross’ case is currently being considered by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals for Fourth Amendment violations; preclusion of evidence of government corruption; violation of due process rights; extreme sentencing, and other issues. Drug Policy Alliance, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, former federal judge Nancy Gertner, JustLeadershipUSA, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and Electronic Frontier Foundation all submitted or joined amicus briefs supporting the appeal.
We implore you to pardon Ross Ulbricht before you leave office, and by so doing make a powerful statement against the Drug War and disproportionate punishment.
Thank you for your consideration and your service.
Lyn and Kirk Ulbricht