Ross Ulbricht was the creator and operator of Silk Road, the first modern darknet market, best known as a platform for selling illegal drugs, until his 2013 arrest.

From the criminal complaint, Ross Ulbricht get double life sentence (sentencing hearing).

After he was arrest in the library, could he have done ANYTHING to don't get life sentence? If he declared himself guilty, could he get less time?


The life sentences were based on counts 2 and 4, distribution of narcotics by means of the internet and continuing criminal enterprise. In reviewing the sentencing hearing, all of the evidence indicates that the sentence was based on the nature of his acts, and not anything he did after his arrest. There is no way to know if prosecutors would have been amenable to a plea bargain.

  • I don't know exactly how USA law work. What i saw is: EVERYONE that say not guilt and than the judge prove it's guilt, you always get a bigger sentence. Look like it is a good idea to admit your guilt in first place.
    – Rodrigo
    Oct 4 '16 at 20:51
  • That would be entirely contrary to US law. Once you're found guilty (by the jury) then it is good to sound sorry for your act, as Ulbricht did. There is no penalty for not confessing.
    – user6726
    Oct 4 '16 at 20:59
  • I just see, when the FBI get your computer with all incrimination things, you lost. How the plea bargain could work in this case, @user6726?
    – Rodrigo
    Oct 5 '16 at 13:18
  • 1
    @Rodrigo: plea bargains can contain more than the defendant pleading guilty. Many include (and are contingent upon) testimony against others, such as codefendants or other criminals that the defendant my have knowledge of, and whose testimony can help convict.
    – sharur
    Nov 3 '16 at 0:33
  • 2
    You are more likely to get a lower sentence by making a plea deal simply because you're saving the state the cost and effort of a trial, but there's no guarantee of that. In cases where the evidence is overwhelming or the nature of the crimes is extremely serious and shocking to the public, the prosecutor may not offer a plea deal (they don't have to). In some U.S. states, the victim(s) have a say in whether a plea deal is offered, and in most U.S. jurisdictions, a judge can reject a deal that both the prosecutor and defendant have already agreed to. Nov 5 '16 at 2:11

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