Judges question if life term too harsh for Silk Road founder

Ross William Ulbricht
FILE - This Feb 4, 2015, file courtroom sketch, shows defendant Ross William Ulbricht as the deputy recites the word “guilty” multiple times during Ubricht’s trial in New York. Ulbricht is set to be sentenced Friday, May 29, 2015, after his February Manhattan federal court conviction. (AP Photo/Elizabeth Williams, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals panel in New York City is questioning whether the life prison term given to the founder of the drug-selling website Silk Road is too harsh.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan heard arguments Thursday in the conviction and sentencing of Ross Ulbricht. It did not immediately rule.

Two of the three judges questioned whether a life sentence was appropriate for the San Francisco creator of the underground website.

Ulbricht was sentenced in May 2015 to life in prison. He was convicted of enabling internet drug sales for nearly three years, from 2011 until his 2013 arrest.

At sentencing, prosecutors cited at least six deaths traced to overdoses from Silk Road drugs. The appeals judges questioned whether that reference was appropriate.

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