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Ross Ulbricht's Lawyer Requests Suppression Of Silk Road Evidence

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the go-long dept.

The Courts 54

Despite a failed attempt to have charges dismissed, the alleged Silk Road operator Ross Ulbricht's lawyer has filed a new motion to have evidence dismissed, citing recent court rulings in an argument that the Silk Road related searches were overly broad. From the article: Dratel [Ulbricht's lawyer] argues in his 102-page motion filed last Friday that "the government conducted a series of 14 searches and seizures of various physical devices containing electronically stored information ('ESI'), and of ESI itself from Internet providers and other sources. Some of the ESI was obtained via search warrant, but other ESI was obtained via court order, and still other ESI was obtained without benefit of any warrant at all." ...

The defense lawyer argues that even the searches for which the government had a warrant were overbroad and based on evidence that may have been obtained illegally. The attorney writes: " As set forth ante, all of the searches and seizures conducted pursuant to warrants and/or orders were based on the initial ability of the government to locate the Silk Road Servers, obtain the ESI on them, and perform extensive forensic analysis of that ESI. Thus, all subsequent searches and seizures are invalid if that initial locating the Silk Road Servers, obtaining their ESI, and gaining real-time continued access to those servers, was accomplished unlawfully."

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Watch my hands! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month and a half ago | (#47605909)

Now watch my hands. Are you watching my hands? Good. Now, Presto!

Re:Watch my hands! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47606883)

Wow! I've never seen a dildo materialize out of thin air before! But I'm pretty sure I know how the trick was done, considering you were using your mom as an assistant. Still, keep practicing!

Re:Watch my hands! (-1, Troll)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month and a half ago | (#47607141)

Wow! I've never seen a dildo materialize out of thin air before!

Surely there's examples someplace on the internets for you to regard. If this response is an example of the mentality of the proponents of the Silk Road who modded me down, then I suddenly feel completely justified.

Re:Watch my hands! (2, Interesting)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47607763)

The fact that you think "opponent of government abuse" equals "proponent of Silk Road" speaks volumes. You are the dangerous kind of citizen, who, unable to distinguish between the two, enables the "Think of the Children" approach to rights erosion.

Re: Watch my hands! (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about a month and a half ago | (#47608255)

It's quite the opposite; without the massive work of governmental abuse that is the War on Drugs, Silk Road would never have existed. Crackdowns do nothing but make criminals worse.

Re:Watch my hands! (1)

HughJazz (3715809) | about a month and a half ago | (#47608329)

The fact that you think "opponent of government abuse" equals "proponent of Silk Road" speaks volumes. You are the dangerous kind of citizen, who, unable to distinguish between the two, enables the "Think of the Children" approach to rights erosion.

Precisely. Ulbricht is probably guilty but there seems be unpunished crimes going on by the government as well. The claim as to how they found him seems like a cover story. Given Snowden revelations its obvious the government little concern for the law when it comes to privacy these days. If the constitution was being actually followed, those that engaged in mass surveillance would be facing a judge and jail time. Unfortunately because lawmakers are the one's authorizing it, they give themselves a get-out-jail card. If the government was serious about privacy -- it would be putting government officials that violate citizens privacy in prison. *ONLY* prison sentences (to any NSA officials and politicians that violated people's privacy without due process) will show the government is getting serious about privacy. It will make any public official think twice before violating the constitution again. Until then, we will all live in fear of what we do and say using various forms of telecommunication. The government was supposed to protect us against Orwillian threats. Not institute 1984. The people that claim its for our "protection" are not only totalitarian thugs but they are killing American I/T exports. What government of foreign corporation that wants to protect their secrets would be stupid enough to by US technology.

Re:Watch my hands! (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a month and a half ago | (#47609753)

You are the dangerous kind of citizen, who, unable to distinguish between the two, enables the "Think of the Children" approach to rights erosion.

I'm the kind of citizen who doesn't take a blatant criminal's lawyer's word for anything. I'm all for people being able to buy and sell whatever they like, but I don't automatically take the capitalist's word over the socialist's. The rewards for turning in someone running an operation like this would be astronomical. If one is actually as scrupulous with one's identity as he thought he was, then it would take a tipoff to bring them down anyway. There's no honor among, well, anyone really. The fact that you think that the most likely way that he was located was through some sort of voodoo spying shows that you think it's plausible that he was sloppy with his identity, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to trace him, would they?

Nobody has shown any evidence of overreach yet. I'll wait to be incensed until some evidence is presented. I, for one, was not surprised when his identity was found out. Apparently, you were.

Re:Watch my hands! (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a month and a half ago | (#47612967)

" There's no honor among, well, anyone really."

You clearly have no honor. A person with honor would never say such a thing, as they would, having honor themselves, know this to be untrue.

"Nobody has shown any evidence of overreach yet."

Don't be an idiot. Parallel Reconstruction isn't some kind of myth. It is a known fact that this does happen. Ergo, concluding that anyone who wants to know if it happened here is a "proponent of Silk Road" is phenomenally stupid. Of course up until know I had assumed you believe your own bullshit. Now that you have admitted you have no honor, I have to question even that.

Normal lawyer stuff (5, Insightful)

jjn1056 (85209) | about a month and a half ago | (#47605971)

We all know his lawyer has the burden to basically try anything and everything between now and (possible) sentencing to get the client off or reduced penalty. The system is adversarial on purpose. What will be interesting to some of us is to see if there was anything used here to find him that is really pushing the limits right. I mean the official story I hear is that he was found with old fashion leg work more than anything else. I am interested to know how true that might be. I think a lot of us are worried some of that mega NSA power is being serendipitously shared with law enforcement, and then they cover it up. We have some reason to think that is and has happened.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (4, Informative)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606035)

Compared to the other arguments his lawyer has used, this one might actually have promise. I would not be surprised if this one took longer to try because they were actually taking it seriously. Even with lots of legwork, if the final evidence was collected illegally it could very well be inadmissible, and standards when it comes to this type of evidence are still in flux with investigators not having clear rules to go by yet.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (2, Insightful)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606101)

Prosecution will just mention that FISA court, and woopsydaisy it's suddenly all legal, because terrorism.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (2)

leuk_he (194174) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606959)

No no, the gathering of the information becomes legal. Using it in a "normal" case is an entire different story.(according to the lawyer) You cannot make the gathering of everything digital that is happening for security, and then using this information in a "normal" drugs case. If he tried to do a terrorist action, then it would disappears in the drawer. However This is a normal criminal case, and in such a case the police has to follow certain procedures.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47607451)

This is a normal criminal case, and in such a case the police has to follow certain procedures.

No, they don't. It's just as much a free for all with them as it is with the feds. The authorities only have to cover their tracks and not get caught.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (2)

jythie (914043) | about a month and a half ago | (#47607581)

Individual judges can go either way though. Never forget that the fed is not a uniform block but is instead a confusing mix of many priorities and ideologies.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (3, Insightful)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606071)

I mean the official story I hear is that he was found with old fashion leg work more than anything else. I am interested to know how true that might be. I think a lot of us are worried some of that mega NSA power is being serendipitously shared with law enforcement, and then they cover it up. We have some reason to think that is and has happened.

If a tool exists that eases the human labor necessary to accomplish a task, and that tool is within reach of the aforementioned human, the tool will not sit idle.

It would be fairly easy to work backwards from the fruit of the poisonous tree with some old fashioned leg work. It's not that we know that's what happened, but it merits a mention for the defendant's day in court.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (3, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606073)

Based on the indictments it's hard to know how he was found. The indictment certainly gives a plausible explanation for how it happened - he was sloppy about linkage of his personal and alter-ego accounts online, but as noted in the articles, there are certain gaps and inconsistencies in the story and parts of it may have been filled out retroactively (the notorious "parallel construction"). Apparently what his lawyer is hoping, is that they get a judge who feels like putting the FBI in their place with respect to such issues, and it turns out that they found the Silk Road servers via some NSA related trickery then worked backwards to find Ulbricht, then worked out a plausible but untrue alternative explanation for how he was located. Such a thing if found to have happened could plausibly throw a spanner in the entire prosecution.

However, it seems a long shot.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (4, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606193)

It's worth noting that it was the DEA who gave 'parallel construction' its notoriety (check out the delightful lesson plan [amazonaws.com] !). I would not want to be the guy whose continued freedom depends on finding a court willing to poke the issue, much less for The Notorious Silk Road Internet Drugs Kingpin; but it certainly seems like a case where the matter would be very likely to come up.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47607267)

It's unlikely that an adorable little grandma will go up against the DEA and parallel construction any time soon.

Adversarial? (2, Insightful)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606125)

That's an understatement. They're trying to charge the guy with "Continuing Criminal Enterprise", a charge reserved for gangsters who continue to run their gang from inside prison. How did Ulbricht keep making changes to Silk Road after being imprisoned? It's rather hard to do something electronic when you have no access to electronics because you're in jail.

CCE is a manager of drug dealers (5, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606373)

CCE has nothing to do with being in prison. The requirements for conviction under Continuing Criminal Enterprise are that the defendant:
Managed or supervised
a series of
felony
drug offenses
involving at least four other people.

That actually sounds a LOT like "running a drug market", which about right.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki... [wikipedia.org]

Re:CCE is a manager of drug dealers (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a month and a half ago | (#47609235)

It sounds more like being a drug kingpin, and claiming that DPR is one of those is akin to saying that Craig Newmark is the boss of a prostitution ring.

was, but not really. 99% of clist Ian isn't hooker (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month and a half ago | (#47609269)

99% of the ads on Craigslist are for something other than hookers.
Craigslist wasn't specifically designed for illegal activity.

Silk Road was designed for illegal activity, and was mostly used for illegal activity.

Further, Craigslist took care of the hooker issue when it became a problem. The hookers are on Backpage now.

Re:was, but not really. 99% of clist Ian isn't hoo (0)

king neckbeard (1801738) | about a month and a half ago | (#47609527)

I don't think you are getting the point. These big scary, "fuck due process" laws were sold to the public as a means of toppling crime factories and their complex legal maneuvering to avoid prosecution for anyone important. Basically, for stopping the real world equivalent of supervillains.

exactly how is CCE trial "fuck due process? (2)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month and a half ago | (#47609697)

There is a lot of crap worth complaining about, and I think you've missed it if you're complaining about CCE.
How exactly is CCE a "fuck due process law"? A defendant is indicted, tried by jury. The jury concludes the evidence shows that beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant directed multiple felonies. Where exactly is due process missing?

Re:was, but not really. 99% of clist Ian isn't hoo (1)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about a month ago | (#47614789)

Tell that to the hookers that keep posting in my citys CL.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (1)

ultranova (717540) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606507)

The system is adversarial on purpose.

Specifically, the purpose is to ensure you're as equal before the law as the contents of your wallet allow. Unless you pissed off someone more powerful, of course, in which case they will be confiscated.

Re:Normal lawyer stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47607139)

He was found by good old fashioned "leg work": an NSA flack went up to Canada, and mailed him a box of fake IDs with a sticker on it that says "Dear Canada Post, your mother is a drunkard who screws elks and your father has a small dick, sorry eh" so of course they opened it to see who could possibly be so rude.

Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606021)

False dichotomy? Sure.

Reasonable tenet for legal admissibility of evidence? Absolutely.

Prosecutors and law enforcement personnel should have to operate within the law in order to exercise its enforcement.

Re:Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47606173)

Prosecutors and law enforcement personnel should have to operate within the law in order to exercise its enforcement

Yes, they most definitely should, but this is the united states legal system you are talking about. One where prosecutors and law enforcement have been ordered to perjure themselves by the federal government in order to keep questionable surveillance technologies (such as stingray) out of the courts eye. One where prosecutors and law enforcement have been encouraged by the federal government to use evidence laundering (parallel reconstruction) to hide the fact that evidence is routinely being illegally acquired. One where law enforcement demands more and more surveillance powers so they don't have to leave their plush offices and actually have to do police work.

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47606075)

this guy is scum...selling drugs online - eh...

having a place where people can pay for hits on other people....

send him up the river.

Re:lol (2)

TheCarp (96830) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606439)

Actually, in fairness, I don't believe Silk Road did allow this.

More what he is accused of is trying to hire a hitman after being blackmailed, threatening both him and his customers.

Although, from the looks of things, what he really did was get scammed by a blackmailer and a fake hitman.

I find it hard to be so black and white about a situation where threats are actually potentially putting lives on the line, its not like he had other recourse. The blackmailer was a former conspirator of his....honestly.... I have trouble applying normal morality to such a case..... a person entering into illegal business who then attempts to blackmail his former boss knows what he is getting into.... for his former boss to then kill him I don't put quite as much moral weight on as if it was pretty much anyone else in just about any other situation.

I almost put it more in the category of a boxer who kills his opponent in the ring. They both knew what they were getting into, what the stakes were. If a child walks up to a bear and gets mauled it is a tragedy. If a man walks into the path of a bear he didn't see, it is likewise. If a full grown adult tosses food around his own campsite to attrack the bears because he wants to see one, then punches it in the face..... maybe on some level its tragic but, its not nearly as tragic.

Re:lol (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a month and a half ago | (#47607117)

Rights do not exist for unassuming grandmothers. They exist for dirtbags as well.

"If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you. Because I'm the worst." -Larry Flynt

OT: First vs. Second Amendment (Re:lol) (2)

mi (197448) | about a month and a half ago | (#47607363)

"If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, then it will protect all of you. Because I'm the worst." -Larry Flynt

Sure... I just wish, the Second Amendment was interpreted as widely as the First.

If the First was read as narrowly as the Second is currently, the freedom of speech — which, among other things, once meant Larry's freedom to sell porn — would've been limited to petitioning the government. And only for redress of grievances...

Re:OT: First vs. Second Amendment (Re:lol) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47611611)

If the First was read as narrowly as the Second is currently, the freedom of speech — which, among other things, once meant Larry's freedom to sell porn — would've been limited to petitioning the government. And only for redress of grievances...

You obviously don't remember Reagan's "free speech cages".

Re:OT: First vs. Second Amendment (Re:lol) (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a month and a half ago | (#47612653)

For as long as I can remember, both the GOP and the DNC have had these things outside (WAYYYYYYYY outside) their nominating conventions.

While Reagan was in many ways a shitbag, the correct answer is "a pox on both their houses".

Re:OT: First vs. Second Amendment (Re:lol) (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about a month and a half ago | (#47612655)

And only after a cooling off period.

Sounds fishy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47606117)

Something sounds fishy, at least according to the defense the government didn't provide the evidence suggesting how they knew of the the location of the servers being used to commit illegal acts. It could be another case of "Parallel Construction" which may involve illegal interception of mail and communications without a court order. It almost sounds like they just went to a Judge with no evidence just "their word" that they knew something illegal was going at this location and the judge just rubber stamped it. If true that would be like going to a judge for a warrant to search a home of a suspected drug dealer and their only justification was they had "informed sources" (that wouldn't give their name and couldn't list specific offenses) saying something illegal was going on there.

How soon will the idiots start posting stupid law? (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606149)

Theories like "the IRS won't tax it because it's law".
Or it's hearsay and ignoring the 27 some exceptions to the hearsay rules?
Even this story already borders on getting it wrong. "Fruit of the poisonous tree" can be gotten around by if you can demonstrate that the same evidence would inevitably have been obtained by legal means that they were undertaking.

Re:How soon will the idiots start posting stupid l (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606167)

Sorry I meant "the IRS won't tax it because it's not currency".

Re:How soon will the idiots start posting stupid l (0)

slashdice (3722985) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606359)

A lot of bitcoin retards seem to think that the IRS needs new tax laws to deal with bitcoins. Because somehow the existing tax laws (capital gains and barter) don't cover it.

Re:How soon will the idiots start posting stupid l (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47607305)

They already do tax it! Make sure you write down the exchange rates both 1) when you buy/mine your bitcoins and 2) when you sell/spend them. It's a capital gain.

Don't get caught evading taxes!

How soon will the idiots start posting stupid law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47606239)

Just because there may be exceptions doesn't make those exceptions right and/or legal. The constitution is quite clear that copyright/patents are for the benefit of society and the artists/inventors only have a monopoly for a limited time. But the "justice" system has reinterpreted the definition of "limited time" to be eternity -1 and whenever an extension is brought up the benefit of the "artists" (corporation that owns the copyright/patent) are all that is discussed.

Re:How soon will the idiots start posting stupid l (0)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606693)

And the first sentence produces moron number one.

Wouldn't it be ironic? (4, Interesting)

maroberts (15852) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606233)

If a court did throw out all the evidence, and as a result they had to return all the Sold Bitcoin [theguardian.com] ?

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47606533)

BitCoin is the currency of criminals and anti-government types. It'll soon be gone.

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47608711)

That was what I was curious about. Would the government have to give back the proceeds of the sale or the actual value at the time of seizure or the amount they are worth now?

Re:Wouldn't it be ironic? (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about a month and a half ago | (#47613479)

That was what I was curious about. Would the government have to give back the proceeds of the sale or the actual value at the time of seizure or the amount they are worth now?

What the government would do is one thing (most likely they'd say this was seized property and it does not need to be returned - DEA can seize and sell property even if you are found innocent in court, amazingly enough).

However, if it wanted to do the right thing the most appropriate thing to do would be to just return the same quantity of bitcoins that was seized, perhaps by buying them on the market. Then nobody has to argue about the value of a bitcoin - they're just returning what was taken, even if it isn't the exact same set of bitcoins.

The government shouldn't be able to sell seized property without a conviction in the first place, which would be the best solution. In fact, they probably shouldn't be able to seize the property at all without a conviction, unless the property is illegal to own on its face.

Servers equals The Body in this argument (2)

SpzToid (869795) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606269)

In a homicide investigation, it really helps if you actually have a dead body with which to continue working with. What the defense here is saying effectively, "you haven't found the body, have you? So where is your case then? And certainly, what exactly are the legal merits of your case based upon the legal evidence available, so you claim?"

Re:Servers equals The Body in this argument (1)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606699)

Moron #2.
Just ask that Peterson guy in California.
Or Hans Reiser.

You gotta give him credit (2)

msobkow (48369) | about a month and a half ago | (#47606667)

You gotta give the guy credit. He's taking every possible spin he can to get his guilty client off.

Re:You gotta give him credit (1)

phayes (202222) | about a month and a half ago | (#47607077)

Looks more like he is throwing everything he can think of at the wall in order to find something that might work. Given how slowly the wheels of justice turn it delays the eventual reckoning but Judges tire of the technique eventually [arstechnica.com]

It's fun to just declare things like guilt (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47607323)

Makes sense, your illegitimate state is taking every possible spin to imprison Ulbricht for an unjust law.

Re:You gotta give him credit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47608377)

He's taking every possible spin he can to get his guilty client off.
 
As good attorney would do. An Attorney has the legal and ethical duty to their client to defend them to the best of their abilities. Even if they know that the client is guilty and would like to see them die a horrible death they have to do their best to defend them in court, failing to to do so can land them in serious trouble.

Without lying, and best interests might be rehab (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about a month and a half ago | (#47609401)

> Even if they know that the client is guilty and would like to see them die a horrible death they have to do their best to defend them in court

Yep. More specifically, they are supposed to act in the best interest of the client, but without lying or helping the client lie.
Spin is required, allowing or participating in actual lying is called "subornation of perjury" and it is grounds for disbarment and a maximum of about five years in prison.

Also, they are not required to try to "get their client off". That's hookers who do that. It is acceptable, I believe, for an attorney to seek to have their drug-addicted client to prison rehab like SAFP, if that is in the client's best interest. That is unless the client specifically instructs their attorney to try to avoid prison rehab

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