Offense Level

Judges are required to consult the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines to determine sentences based primarily on two factors: a defendant’s offense level (the seriousness of the offense), and a defendant’s criminal history.[1]

Ross’s offense level was 43, with no criminal history, and his judge sentenced him to double life without parole + 40 years.

  • Jan Slomp’s (top drug seller on Silk Road) offense level was—like Ross’s—43 (reduced from 46 after he pleaded guilty).[2] His sentence was 10 years.[3]
  • Jason Hagen’s (biggest meth seller on Silk Road) offense level was 40.[4] His sentence was 3 years (reduced from 6 years because of agent corruption).[5]
  • Peter Nash’s (top Silk Road admin) offense level was 36.[6] His sentence was 17 months.[7]
The sentencing table determines the
defendant’s sentencing guideline range

Despite similar offense levels, the other judges issued sentences significantly below the guideline range, while Ross’s judge relied on false, uncharged allegations to justify a draconian sentence, in violation of the Sixth Amendment right to a jury trial. These unprosecuted allegations were never charged at trial, never proven in court, never ruled on by a jury, and were later dismissed with prejudice, meaning that Ross is serving two life sentences without parole, plus 40 years, based, in part, on now-dismissed allegations.