Retired Federal Judge, Law Enforcement, and Leading Drug Reform Organization Ask Court to Reconsider Silk Road’s Ross Ulbricht’s Harsh Prison Sentence
Ulbricht Given Life Without Parole Sentence but Silk Road Copycat Sites Keep Emerging
The Drug Policy Alliance on Wednesday filed an amicus brief urging the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to reduce the harsh life without parole sentence imposed on Ross Ulbricht, who was convicted of operating the Silk Road website.
“We have learned from 40 plus years of the failed war on drugs that incarceration does not prevent drug use or sales,” said Nancy Gertner, retired federal judge and senior lecturer at Harvard Law. “Even if it did, there is absolutely no evidence that a life sentence, including life without parole, is any more effective at deterring crime than a shorter sentence would be.”
The brief was filed on behalf of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), JustLeadershipUSA, and Judge Gertner (Ret.). It highlights the growing bipartisan consensus that life sentences do not make sense for drug convictions; that such sentences are disproportionate to what most people receive for drug trafficking offenses; and, given the failure of the War On Drugs, harsh sentences do nothing to deter others from committing similar crimes or to reduce drug sales or use.