FAQ

For more questions directly related to the case, see Common Misconceptions.

1. Who is Ross Ulbricht?

Ross is a 34-year old with no criminal history who is currently serving a double life sentence without parole + 40 years, for charges associated with creating the Silk Road website. All his charges are non-violent, and no victim was named at trial.
See Meet Ross.
 

2. What was Silk Road?

Silk Road was an e-commerce website with an emphasis on user privacy. It was based on a free market philosophy that allowed people to buy and sell items anonymously, using the cryptocurrency Bitcoin on the Tor browser. The guiding philosophy of the site was that people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else.
See What was Silk Road.

3. Why did Ross create Silk Road?

When he created Silk Road, Ross was a 26-year-old libertarian who wanted to give people the experience of a truly free market. He worked on the Ron Paul campaign, studied Austrian economics and was passionate about freedom.
 

4. Why was Ross sentenced to double life + 40 years?

Ross was given this sentence based on charges associated with creating the Silk Road website. Ross had no criminal history and all his charges were non-violent. It is an unheard of sentence for a first-time offender. To justify her draconian sentence, Judge Forrest heavily relied on uncharged conduct that was never ruled on by the jury.
See Sentenced for Uncharged Crimes.
 

5. What are the next steps in the case?

On June 28, 2018, the Supreme Court denied to hear Ross’s case. This denial failed to uphold internet privacy and fair trials, and also ended Ross’s options for direct appeal. But we can’t give up. We cannot let him live out the rest of his life in a cage. We are now seeking clemency from the President. To that end, we have launched a petition to free Ross. Within the first month, we reached 60,000 signatures. We need yours, too! Please take a minute to sign and share the petition far and wide!
 

6. Why is this case so important? How will it impact me?

Ross’s case presents two important questions of constitutional law, and has broad significance impacting both our Fourth and Sixth Amendment protections. Whenever anyone is deprived of rights in the U.S. criminal justice system, it impacts all Americans. When our constitutional protections are not upheld, they are weakened in general. Policy in the U.S., for better or worse, influences and impacts the rest of the world. Freedom is under assault worldwide and it is our choice what kind of future we want to live into.
See Supreme Court.
 

7. How is Ross holding up in prison?

Ross is an exceptional person and disciplines himself to remain optimistic. When the prison is not on lockdown, he spends time outside and in the law library, as well as the chapel where he meditates. Ross never has a bad word to say about anyone, including the people who put him in prison. He remains hopeful and keeps working on his case almost everyday while trying to stay safe in a place full of violent people.
See Ross’s Writings.
 

8. Can I communicate with Ross?

Unlike other inmates, Ross is deprived of email privileges, but you can send him a letter or a card. Getting encouraging words from supporters always means a lot to him.
See Contact.
 

9. Where do donations go?

100% of donations go toward Ross’s defense fund (primarily for legal fees). If you would like to contribute, visit the Free Ross Store or the Donate page. Every bit helps! We’re grateful for your support.
 

10. Who runs this website?

A team of Ross’s family members, friends and volunteers.
 

11. How can I help?

There are many ways! Please see the Donate and Take Action pages.