By Aaron Kesel — Imprisoned Silk Road creator, Ross Ulbricht, has one last chance at reducing his sentence with an appeal to the Supreme Court. After that, his options in court for appealing his double-life sentence (for victimless crimes) will be extinguished.
Ross Ulbricht was arrested in 2013 for running the infamous darknet marketplace Silk Road. Ross admitted in trial that he helped create the site but denies that he was the only “Dread Pirate Roberts” (DPR) admin of Silk Road. Ross claims he sold the website and stated he was set up as the “ultimate fall guy.”
In fact, Ross Ulbricht’s defense team revealed in 2016, that one month after Ulbricht’s arrest (October 1st) on November 18, 2013, someone logged into “Dread Pirate Roberts” account on the Silk Road forum. The team has also disclosed that “evidence-tampering” may have taken place; these facts were documented in a discovery letter, Bitcoin Magazine reported.
“We have recently learned that someone using the Dread Pirate Roberts account logged into the Silk Road forum nearly seven weeks after Ross was arrested. A record of this was buried deep within the five to six terabytes the government produced in the discovery. The evidence shows that the last login by DPR was made November 18, 2013, four days before the Silk Road forum was taken offline on November 22, 2013. Ross Ulbricht was arrested on Oct. 1, 2013, and has been in custody ever since.”
Lyn says that the recently uncovered evidence is mentioned in the demand for additional discovery that was sent to the AUSA in Maryland:
“There is a record in the database for every account, showing the most recent login. We don’t know when that person or persons originally gained access, or how many times they logged into Silk Road as DPR. We don’t know how many DPRs there were. What we now know from the discovery evidence provided by the government is that the last time someone using the DPR account logged into the Silk Road Forum was November 18, 2013, when Ross Ulbricht had been in prison for nearly seven weeks.”
“Joshua Dratel, Ross’ lawyer, said a long time ago that we only know the tip of the iceberg regarding the corruption in this case. This week we have seen another big chunk of ice revealed: evidence tampering and apparently at least one additional DPR. If this backup of the forum database had not been saved or discovered; if logins made by DPR after Ross’ arrest were not found, no one would be the wiser. This begs the question: how much more is there? Unfortunately we may never know, as it’s the nature of digital evidence that it’s easily changed, planted or deleted without a trace. That my son — or anyone — would get a life sentence without parole based on vulnerable digital evidence, especially when it’s been corrupted, puts us all in peril.”
The guy who concocted DPR and mentored Ulbricht, according to Wired, was someone who called himself Variety Jones, and later, Cimon.
A federal judge, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Forrest, sentenced Ross Ulbricht to life in prison without parole in 2015.
It also came out that there was government corruption in the case that the jury was not allowed to know about during the trial. Federal agents Carl Mark Force IV and Shaun Bridges, who were involved in the Silk Road investigation, used their position to steal and extort millions of dollars in Bitcoin for the website and its users. Due to this corruption, Ulbricht’s lawyers subsequently filed for a re-trial motion on March 6th 2015.
On appeal last year, Ulbricht had argued that the evidence gathered with five warrantless “pen/trap orders” allowed the government to monitor IP addresses associated with traffic to and from Ulbricht’s home router, which ultimately violated his Fourth Amendment rights.
That re-trail appeal was denied by the courts last year, with the decision being upheld by a panel of three judges. Citing the 1979 Smith v. Maryland, case which allowed investigators to gather dialed phone numbers without a warrant, the panel of judges said that IP addresses were similar to phone numbers.
His defense “called for a re-evaluation of the third-party disclosure doctrine established by Smith.” But the judges were bound by it “until and unless it is overruled by the Supreme Court,” Circuit Judge Gerard Lynch wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel.
The Supreme Court will be weighing in on these issues and more in the case, as reported by Reason.
Kannon K. Shanmugam, the lawyer managing the appeal, summed up the legal issues that require settling by the Supreme Court in a December memo to potential amici in the case. Even those who might never dream of launching a darkweb site facilitating possibly illegal substance sales should be very worried about how the government convicted and sentenced Ulbricht, he explains:
This case presents two important questions of constitutional law with broader significance for the rights of criminal defendants generally. First, the Second Circuit affirmed the government’s warrantless collection of Mr. Ulbricht’s Internet traffic information by relying on the third-party doctrine, which the Court is reviewing in a different context this Term in Carpenter v. United States….This case would afford the Court an ideal opportunity to address how the doctrine applies to Internet traffic information.
Lyn Ulbricht told Activist Post in an email to this writer that this is one of the most important cases of our time and this is more than just about Ross, this is about our digital rights. Further, isn’t U.S. law supposed to prevent cruel and unusual punishment? You wouldn’t know that was the case with the fact that the judge bypassed a jury and enhanced Ulbricht’s sentencing with unproven allegations that were never brought to trial. The Ross Ulbricht case will set a precedent for the Fourth and Sixth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. As Lyn stated to Activist Post:
Ross’ petition to the Supreme Court presents important constitutional questions that have broad significance, not only for the rights of criminal defendants but for us all. Can the government legally collect our Internet traffic without a warrant? Does a judge have the right to bypass a jury and enhance an unreasonable sentence with unproven allegations never brought to trial? The ultimate question here is whether the Fourth and Sixth Amendments are still viable and we should all be concerned about how the court answers.
We completely agree: this is about liberty and digital rights, and limiting government overreach.
Ulbricht is also appealing the obscene length of his sentence at the Supreme Court:
Second, the Second Circuit affirmed the sentencing court’s determination of facts never submitted to the jury, which significantly altered the Guidelines range and ultimately led the court to impose a life sentence—a sentence the Second Circuit admitted “condemn[s] a young man to die in prison.” Several justices have previously questioned whether this kind of judicial factfinding violates the Sixth Amendment. For both these reasons, this case warrants Supreme Court review.
To end with a quote: “This case is the birth of law as applied to our digital future. Watch it as a spectator at your peril.” – Scott H. Greenfield, attorney.
Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/ulbricht-supreme-court-appeal-sentences/
Two teenage girls who were sexually molested by Dustin Bingham, an extended family member and former Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputy, asked a state district judge for leniency at his sentencing hearing Wednesday, District Attorney Marco Serna said.
Serna said such behavior is not uncommon among victims of sexual molestation within families; the girls’ mother also asked District Judge Mary Marlowe Sommer for leniency in sentencing Bingham, a relative of the mother.
Serna, whose office on Wednesday issued a statement calling Bingham a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” said all three family members “minimized” the molestation.
“They loved their family member despite what he did,” the district attorney said.
Marlowe Sommer on Wednesday sentenced Bingham to 15 years in prison but suspended 10 years, Serna said, ordering him to undergo 10 years of supervised probation.
“Bingham was a wolf in sheep’s clothing while he served as a sheriff’s deputy in Santa Fe County and that made him extremely dangerous,” Serna’s news release said. “I am disappointed that he was not sentenced to more years in prison, but we will continue to seek justice for our innocent victims.”
Bingham in November pleaded guilty to five felony counts in the high-profile case brought by Serna’s office in August.
The 37-year-old former lawman admitted to fondling the girls, whom he had watched after and who were under the age of 18 during the time of the criminal sexual contact. Bingham also pleaded guilty to two felony counts of child solicitation through electronic communication and sexual exploitation of children in connection with communications he had with a girl who was not a relative.
Serna said the girl whom Bingham admitted soliciting online told the judge that Bingham deserved the maximum prison sentence of 25 years and described to the judge the psychological damage of the abuse.
Bingham on Wednesday apologized and asked for leniency, according to Serna.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Robert Garcia said in an interview on Wednesday that Bingham “got what he deserved” and that he has “no sympathy for people like this.”
According to the affidavit for Bingham’s arrest, the molesting occurred between November 2015 and April 2017. The girls had told Bingham’s father about the abuse, the affidavit says, and when the father confronted his son, Bingham told him, “Dad, I’m guilty,” according to the affidavit. The father told police that he tried to handle the situation with religious leaders at the Mormon church the family attends in Los Alamos, the affidavit says. But he then decided to report the allegations to police.
Los Alamos police arrested Bingham in May.
Bingham resigned from the sheriff’s office in February amid an internal investigation, after working there since April 2015, the sheriff has said. Bingham previously worked for the Los Alamos Police Department.
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John Barton Elliott was one of 25 anarchists arrested for a variety of crimes during an anti-Trump protest in Portland Oregon.
Some of the crimes committed were more serious than others. Elliott’s crime was very serious and could have harmed a lot of people. Unfortunately, the justice system in Portland just sent a message to future anarchists that it’s okay to threaten the lives of police officers and do serious damage to public property with the ridiculous sentence they handed down to 27-year old anarchist, John Barton Elliott.
A 27-year-old man who investigators said bashed in car windshields, shattered a window and an ATM at two Pearl District banks, then threw a burning flare into a Portland police car during anti-Trump and May Day protests was sentenced this week to three years of probation.
John Barton Elliott was caught on video in some of these acts on Nov. 10, 2016, two days after Donald Trump was elected president. The vandalism included joining others in swinging baseball bats or sticks at the cars at Broadway Toyota on the east end of the Broadway Bridge, shattering the window of Chase Bank and smashing an ATM screen at Umpqua Bank in the Pearl District, investigators said.
Police weren’t able to identify Elliott until May 1, 2017, when he showed up to May Day protests in downtown Portland and joined at least one other man in throwing lighted flares later found in the back of a heavily vandalized police SUV parked near Southwest 10th Avenue and Morrison Street.
Here’s the video showing Elliott throwing the flare into the back of the Portland Police vehicle:
Elliott was arrested, and police used his distinctive eyeglasses and bike messenger bag to link him to the Nov. 10 crimes.
Elliott worked as a bike messenger, had attended four years of college and had no previous criminal history except for a misdemeanor shoplifting conviction in 2016.
*25 people (including three minors) were arrested and charged (mostly) with second-degree disorderly conduct. The three minors were arrested for riot, according to police, and released to their parents.
The 22 adults arrested are:
Ayden Michael Foster-Wysocki, 21
Madhab Pulle, 18
Tyler Hans Larsen, 37
Luis Marquez, 44
Grahme Meneses, 20
Jace Anthony Willis, 22
Corey Daniel Joe, 42 — Assaulting a Police Officer
Brianna Borgen, 19
Rachel Visco, 34
Phoebe Loomis, 33
Michell Korin Myers, 19
Rylie Wolff, 22
Lucy Elizabeth Smith, 35
Glenn Allen Silbersdorff, 38
Christopher Fellini, 28
Frank Martinez, 24 — Resist Arrest
Ian Lawrence Henderson, 28
Javier Ivan Reyes, 20
Dan Edward Wright, 34
Jeff Richard Singer, 29 — Interfering with a Peace Officer
Taylor James Evans, 24 — Interfering with a Peace Officer
John Barton Elliott, 26
*All were charged with second-degree disorderly conduct; some were charged with additional crimes.
On Friday, the SCA upheld an appeal by prosecutors who challenged Pistorius’ initial six-year sentence for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, whom he shot on Valentine’s Day in 2013. Pistorius fired four bullets into a closed toilet door in his home, killing his girlfriend, whom he claimed to have mistaken for a burglar.
“The sentence imposed by the…[High Court] with respect to murder is set aside and substituted with the following – the respondent’s imprisonment for 13 years and five months,” Justice Legoabe Willie Seriti said.
In 2014, Pistorius was sentenced to five years for culpable homicide, but spent just 10 months in prison before being released and placed under home arrest. Following an appeal from prosecutors, who considered the punishment to be “shockingly lenient,” the case was reclassified as murder and Pistorius was handed a six-year sentence in July of 2016.
The prosecutors and Steenkamp’s family members, who were again disappointed by the conviction, brought the murder case back to court, extending the culprit’s sentence to more than 13 years.
The SCA sentenced Pistorius to 15 years, but deducted the time he has already served in prison and under home arrest.
Pistorius’ lawyers could now file an appeal with the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa, to overturn the decision by the SCA.
Pistorius is the only amputee runner to have participated both in the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The athlete, whose legs were amputated below the knee when he was just 11 months old, won six gold medals at three consecutive Paralympic Games, specializing in sprint events.
He also became the first amputee to win silver at a non-disabled world tournament, after finishing second together with his teammates in the men’s 4x400m relay at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu. The ‘Blade Runner’, as Pistorius is dubbed, participated in the 2012 Summer Games in London, where he failed to reach the final of the men’s 400m event.
Beirut’s Military Tribunal had handed a death sentence to Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir, a Qatari agent who had stoked denominational conflicts in Lebanon during the war against Syria.
In 2011, Sheikh al-Assir (the man with the white turban in the photo) had his heavies impose their law on the city of Saida, before being ousted by the Lebanese army under the leadership of General Chamel Roukoz (who is also President Michel Aoun’s son-in-law). Capturing the mosque Bilal ben Rabah, where al-Assir chose to hideout, had cost the life of about twenty soldiers and almost 150 others had been wounded.
Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir has many people on his assassin’s radar and had tried to kill Serge Marchand, Secretary-General of Voltaire Net. The latter had been saved by the PSNS (the Syrian Nationalist Socialist Party) before the perpetrator of the attempted assassination was arrested by Hezbollah and handed over to the army.
Having slid into hiding, Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir had organized the final battle in the Lebanese city of Tripoli in 2014.
He had been arrested at Beirut airport just as he was trying to get away under a false identity and a new appearance (photo).
During the entire trial, Sheikh Ahmad al-Assir tried to provoke new tensions, whilst his supporters who had gathered outside the Court, were threatening the judges with “revenge à la Sunni”.
His arrest and sentence is proof that regional power relations have changed and he is no longer protected. Peace is slowly being re-established in Lebanon.
Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article198153.html
An internet troll who called for all British Muslims to be killed has been jailed for a year.
Keegan Jakovlevs of Wrexham, North Wales, will serve 12 months in prison after he admitted posting the message on Facebook in the wake of the Manchester bombing in which 22 people were killed and hundreds injured.
Jakovlevs, 22, was jailed at Mold Crown Court for “publishing material with the intention of stirring up religious hatred.”
Families were attacked at the Manchester Arena as they left a concert by Ariana Grande, a pop singer adored by many young girls.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) supporter Salman Abedi was waiting in the lobby when he detonated a homemade bomb.
Jakovlevs responded by using Facebook to send a message calling for revenge to his 2,154 friends.
“Jakovlevs’ Facebook message expressed sympathy for the families of those caught up in the bombing but then, using racist and offensive language, he called for every Muslim in the country to be killed,” a CPS statement said.
“The prosecution argued that Jakovlevs’s single message was particularly serious because it was posted so soon after the Manchester bombing when public emotions were running high.”
The CPS said “a very large number of people” could have seen it – and serious harm could have been caused.
An investigation found there was no attacks as a result of the post, yet Jakovlev’s “intentions were clear” according to Sue Hemming, head of the special crime and counter terrorism division in the CPS.
“After the Manchester attack there were countless messages of support on social media for those affected but Keegan Jakovlevs chose to stir up religious hatred by calling for British Muslims to be indiscriminately killed,” she said.
“People should not assume they can hide on social media when stirring up hatred and violence. Where there is evidence the CPS will prosecute them and they will face imprisonment as a result.”
Police vowed to crack down on internet bullying and trolling in recent months as people use social media to stir up hatred and disseminate false information.
“The nature and timing of this offence was shocking. We will not tolerate such hate crimes and will bring offenders before the courts. His sentence reflects the gravity of his offence,” PC Jon Blake, who led the investigation, said.
Forces around the UK have found an uplift in hate crime since the Westminster terrorist attack and the Manchester bombing.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) received a 500 percent rise in reports of hate crime, the month after the attack, compared to the same month a year earlier.
Source Article from http://filmingcops.com/new-york-officer-gets-20-year-sentence-role-drug-trade/
An Israeli court in Jerusalem yesterday charged a border policeman for killing a Palestinian teenager in 2014 reducing his sentence from manslaughter following a plea bargain.
Israeli border police officer Ben Deri was originally indicted on charges of manslaughter in the 15 May 2014 killing of 17-year-old Nadeem Nawara and 22-year-old and Muhammad Abu Taher. The indictment accused Deri of knowingly firing live ammunition with intent to cause “serious injury, while foreseeing the possibility of causing death”, however in December 2016, the prosecution said it would offer Deri a plea deal to the lesser charge of negligence, claiming he was unaware there were live munitions in his rifle magazine.
Siyam Nawara, Nadeem’s father, told Quds Press that a verdict is expected to be announced on 27 September, adding that the family refuses to sign the plea bargain.
The Israeli Supreme Court rejected the family’s petition to refuse the plea bargain, he added.
Siyam explained that under the new bargain, Deri will only serve a maximum of five years in prison while the punishment for manslaughter could reach up to 20 years.
There is a video that proves that it was murder in cold blood, and all the proof and the autopsy of the body say that Deri is the murderer
Siyam told Israel’s Channel 2 in December. “We don’t need a plea bargain; we have 70 witnesses that were there, and hard evidence.”
Nadeem Nawara, a 17-year-old at the time was shot dead by Deri in 2014 during confrontations with the Israeli army during Nakba Day demonstrations in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia, near Ramallah.
On the morning of June 30 2017, a federal judge sentenced an Amish man to six years in prison. His crimes: making and selling herbal health products that were not “adequately labeled”, and obstructing a federal agency.
According to TheDailySheeple.com, the farmer, one Samuel A. Girod of Bath County in Kentucky, was convicted last March 13 for growing, manufacturing, and selling herbal supplements without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Moreover, Girod was also charged for threatening a person who attempted to provide relevant information regarding his illegal activities to a grand jury.
Although he was only recently convicted, Girod first gained the attention of the FDA in 2013. Because of the nature of his Bath County business, Girod had been ordered by a federal court in Missouri to stop distributing his products until he allowed the FDA to inspect his operations, among many other conditions. When two FDA agents attempted to inspect Girod’s family farm, however, they were barred from entering the premises by Girod and others before they were made to leave.
Speaking to those gathered in the Kentucky courthouse, Girod, who chose to represent himself, stated that FDA regulations were not applicable to his products because they were herbal remedies, not drugs. Girod added that, as a member of the Old Order Amish faith, requiring the approval of the FDA was a violation of his religious freedom. (Related: Amish farmer facing 68 years in federal prison for making homemade products)
Girod’s products include treatments for skin ailments and sinus infections. As stated in an indictment, one particular product, TO-MOR-GONE, is notable for having a corrosive, caustic effect on human skin due to it containing bloodroot extract. Another product by Girod is an extract that he claimed could help cure cancer.
Jurors decided that TO-MOR-GONE lacked the appropriate warnings regarding its usage, and that the dosage and manner of use that is recommended on the package is hazardous to health.
After serving his time of six years, Girod will be subjected to three years of supervised release, during which Girod must avoid producing and distributing his products. Additionally, Girod must pay a restitution of $14,000 and $1,300 in assessment fees.
Girod’s supporters, 75 of whom stood outside the courthouse in downtown Lexington, expressed their disappointment in the ruling. Speaking to Kentucky.com, Arizona native Richard Mack called it a “national disgrace and an outrage”, noting that he used Girod’s Chickweed Healing Salve without experiencing any ill effects. The former sheriff and political activist said that the judge and jury had “created a felon today out of a good, law-abiding citizen” and that Giron was “being punished for being stubborn.”
This stubbornness, according to U.S. district judge Danny Reeves, is what led to Girod’s conviction. The judge told Kentucky.com that Girod brought all this onto himself “because he steadfastly refused to follow the law.”
Michael Fox, standby attorney for Girod, said that the punishment will deeply affect Girod. “Keep in mind that Sam Girod is Amish. He does not live with electricity, phones, concrete, steel. Those are not normal; those are not natural in his life. An incarceration in a prison setting is going to be more punishment for him than [for] a normal person,” Fox stated.
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