Lyn Ulbricht, the mother of the Ross Ulbricht who is sitting in jail because the government alleges he was the operator of Silk Road, emails:
I thought you’d be interested to know that the government has asked the judge to limit the defense by not allowing any of Ross’ political or philosophical beliefs to be introduced to the jury as they might influence the jury in his favor. The prosecution goes so far as to say that they fear that exposing the jury to his political thought could invite a jury nullification verdict.
The government obviously doesn’t want this trial to become about internet freedom, the drug war, or liberty. But these crucial issues are on trial along with Ross. This trial is poised to be the most important of 2015 in the fight for freedom. Obviously the government thinks so. They are doing their best to smear Ross and obstruct his defense.
I’m attaching an excerpt (bolds and highlights mine) from the prosecution’s motions illustrating what I’m saying. If you want the original document, just let me know.
This outrage needs to become known, so please spread the word!
Lyn did not include the attachments, so I emailed her back aaand told her I was going to post but that I would like the attachments. She sent them with this further note:
Great, thanks. Sorry, I’m so upset I’m forgetting lots of things! Here are the attachments.
In addition, the judge has already ruled that the defense cannot see which witnesses will be testifying against Ross for fear that he might orchestrate their killing from his jail cell! That’s with no email access and monitored phone calls. And the prosecution isn’t indicting him for any planned murder!
IV. THE COURT SHOULD PRECLUDE CERTAIN DEFENSE EVIDENCEQUESTIONING AND COMMENTS IN OPENING STATEMENTS ANDARGUMENT
In an abundance of caution, the Government moves to preclude the defendant frommaking particular arguments, or from attempting to introduce evidence on two topics: (1) thepotential consequences to the defendant in the event he is convicted; and (2) thedefendant’s political views or other attempts to excuse his conduct notwithstanding its criminality.
First, the Court should preclude the defendant from presenting any evidence or argument concerning his sentencing exposure or otherwise exposing the jury to the potential consequence of convicting the defendant. The Supreme Court and the Second Circuit have reiterated the “well established” rule that juries should not be permitted to consider the potential penalties Case 1:14-cr-00068-KBF Document 108 Filed 12/09/14 Page 27 of 29 28 faced by criminal defendants. Shannon v. United States, 512 U.S. 573, 579 (1994); see also United States v. Blume, 967 F.2d 45, 49 (2d Cir. 1992) (“Federal courts usually instruct juries not to consider a verdict’s consequences.”). This case presents no reason for the Court to departfrom this well settled rule. Accordingly, the Court should preclude the parties from introducing any information – whether through jury addresses, witness examinations, or otherwise – about any of the potential consequences of conviction.Second, the defendant should be prohibited from raising any arguments or presenting any evidence regarding the defendant’s purported political views – including but not limited to views concerning the propriety of U.S. or international drug laws or the propriety of government regulation of individual conduct or commerce on the Internet – or anything else meant toconvince the jury that the defendant’s conduct should be excused, even if criminal, for anyreason. As the Second Circuit has explained, a defendant should not be allowed to mount a “political defense,” because it is an “erroneous assumption that good motive is inconsistent withcriminal intent.” Rosado, 728 F. 2d at 93. The defendant’s professed personal and politicalviewpoints on drug laws and government regulation are plainly not relevant to whether or not his conduct was in violation of the law, and cannot form the basis for a legal defense. Rather, sucharguments and evidence only serve to invite jury nullification and should therefore be excluded. See United States v. Thomas, 116 F.3d 606, 616 (2d Cir. 1997) (holding that “trial courts have the duty to forestall or prevent [jury nullification]”); see also United States v. Reese, 933 F.Supp. 2d 579, 583 (S.D.N.Y. 2013) (“[T]he Court will not permit [defendant] to advancearguments aimed at jury nullification.”); United States v. Ahrendt, 560 F.3d 69, 75-76 (1st Cir. 2009) (affirming preclusion of evidence regarding defendant’s personal religious views on use of drugs because it promoted jury nullification); United States v. Scarmazzo, 554 F. Supp. 2d 1102,Case 1:14-cr-00068-KBF Document 108 Filed 12/09/14 Page 28 of 29