On May 29, 2015, the Second Circuit appellate court ended Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht's effort to appeal his 40-year prison without parole sentence for operating the Dark Web market known as Silk Road. The site was a popular destination on the Dark Web and was used as a resource for drug traffickers, money launderers, and other buyers and sellers of illegal goods and services. Ulbricht's lawyers argued the sentence was unusually harsh for a first time offender and a non-violent crime. The lawyers also accused law enforcement of conducting illegal searches and using corrupt agents in their investigation. Part of the three-panel judge's response to this argument addressed American drug laws through the statement, "Reasonable people may and do disagree about the social utility of hard sentences for the distribution of controlled substances, or even criminal prohibition of their sale and use at all. It is 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. 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." That being said, the court also cited that it viewed as overwhelming evidence that Ulbricht was "prepared, like other drug kingpins, to protect his profits by paying large sums of money to have individuals who threatened his enterprises murdered." The ruling went on to clarify that even so, it "would be wrong to conclude that he was sentenced for accidental deaths that the district court discussed only in passing in imposing sentence." During the hearing, several family members of the people thought to have died from the drugs bought on Silk Road were un attendance, Ulbricht was not found guilty of any murder chargers including the six separate murder-for-hire charges leveled against. Him. The U.S. Attorney dropped those charges in July 2018. The ruling statement about harsh sentences for drug traffickers by the judges didn't stop Ulbricht's mother, Lyn Ulbricht, from taking up the fight for freedom on behalf of her son. She launched the "Free Ross Ulbricht" website to promote her petition to undo what she views as a miscarriage of justice. The request claims, "over 200 organization, eminent individuals and leaders have voiced their support". As of this writing, over 281 735 people have signed the petition. Lyn Ulbricht continues her fight through speaking engagements, media interviews, and is featured prominently in the documentary Deep Web. She is also a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California. Lyn Ulbricht is also the "voice" behind her son's Twitter account @RealRossU. Ross Ulbricht is banned from using social media during his sentence. As of this writing, there are over 45,500 followers of this account. Ross Ulbricht reportedly sends hand-written "tweets" to his mother, who uses the content to update the Twitter account. The Tweets are about his and his mother's quest for freedom, his life in prison, and comments about bitcoin, books, and articles he's read, and his appreciation for his supporters. Ross also writes for the online publication Medium publishing articles about bitcoin and the blockchain. His author's bio includes a link to sign the petition for his clemency.