Judges wrote a scathing indictment of US drug policy in decision to uphold Silk Road founder's life sentence

ross ulbricht

An appellate court upheld the life sentence of Ross Ulbricht, while offering a scathing indictment of the US’s policy for harshly punishing drug offenses, Wired reported on Wednesday. 

Ulbricht, also known as Dread Pirate Roberts, founded the dark web drug marketplace Silk Road in 2011.

The website was shuttered after a lengthy federal investigation two years later, and Ulbricht was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in 2015. 

In their opinion, Second Circuit appellate court judges questioned the “social utility” of harsh sentences for trafficking illicit substances, and even the “criminal prohibition” regarding the use and sale of drugs. 

It is very possible that, at some future point, we will come to regard these policies as tragic mistakes and adopt less punitive and more effective methods of reducing the incidence and costs of drug use,” the judges wrote.

“At this point in our history, however, the democratically-elected representatives of the people have opted for a policy of prohibition, backed by severe punishment,” the judges continued. 

Ulbricht’s appeal rested on the behavior of the two federal agents who handled this caseCarl Mark Force, a former DEA agent, attempted to extort Ulbricht during the investigation, and Shaun Bridges, a former Secret Service agent, was convicted of stealing thousands of dollars of bitcoin from Silk Road, Wired reports. 

In the opinion, the judges wrote that Ulbricht’s lawyers did not prove that the the agents’ “corrupt behavior” was “exculpatory.” 

SEE ALSO: Netflix CEO Reed Hastings loves when other companies pick fights with him

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Scoop: CRIMINAL MINDS on CBS – Wednesday, June 21, 2017 – Broadway World

Scoop: CRIMINAL MINDS on CBS - Wednesday, June 21, 2017On the episode titled “Scarecrow” – The BAU team heads to Yakima, Wash., after the remains of a dozen people are found along a creek bed, on a rebroadcast of CRIMINAL MINDS, Wednesday, June 21 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Also, they welcome new team member Stephen Walker (Damon Gupton), a seasoned profiler from the Behavioral Analysis Program of the FBI. (Originally broadcast 12/7/16.)

CRIMINAL MINDS revolves around an elite team of FBI profilers who analyze the country’s most twisted criminal minds, anticipating their next moves before they strike again. The Behavioral Analysis Unit’s most experienced agent is David Rossi, a founding member of the BAU, who is essential in helping the team solve new cases. Other members include Special Agent Emily Prentiss, the daughter of high-powered diplomats who returns to the team after being the head profiler at Interpol; Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid, a classically misunderstood genius whose social IQ is as low as his intellectual IQ is high; Jennifer “J.J.” Jareau, the team’s former unit liaison-turned-profiler who juggles motherhood and marriage with the same skill as solving cases; Penelope Garcia, the team’s indispensable computer wizard who helps research the cases with her unique charm; and Dr. Tara Lewis, a forensic psychologist whose expertise is studying and interviewing serial killers after they’re captured to determine if they are able to stand trial.

New to the unit are Luke Alvez, a former Army ranger and excellent tracker recruited from the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force, and Stephen Walker, a seasoned profiler from the Behavioral Analysis Program who brings with him his spy-hunting skill set. As the team evolves together, the BAU continues its dedication to using their expertise to pinpoint predators’ motivations and identify their emotional triggers in the attempt to stop them.

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How childhood pain and suffering drove this beloved LGBTQ lawyer to fight gay-sex stings across California – Los Angeles Times

The first case Bruce Nickerson took on as a young trial attorney seemed straightforward.

His client had been arrested when a San Jose police officer saw him engage in lewd conduct inside a booth at an adult bookstore. Prosecutors offered the man a plea deal that would have spared him from jail time and registering as a sex offender.

For most attorneys, the deal would have seemed like a gift. But Nickerson had a plan, and urged his client to take the case to trial.

The officer had leaned into the booth to observe the man touching himself. To be convicted of lewd conduct in California, Nickerson argued in court, a defendant would need to believe someone would not just witness the conduct, but be offended by it.

Last year, Nickerson won a major decision in Los Angeles County when a judge ruled that the Long Beach Police Department’s use of undercover stings was discriminatory. Statistics cited by Nickerson in court showed that city police had arrested at least two dozen men seeking gay sex during stings in 2013 and 2014. No women, or men seeking heterosexual encounters, were arrested in those stings.

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