Saturday, April 1, 2017

Supreme Court to Hear Alleged Silk Road Admin’s Appeal

For the past three years, an alleged Silk Road admin named Gary Davis fought extradition to the United States. As his impending extradition drew nearer, his fate looked bleaker and bleaker. The Court of Appeal dismissed Davis’s appeal and although laws prevented extradition within 15 days off that decision, US Marshals flew in less than a week later with a return flight scheduled for the following day. Then, Supreme Court judges announced they planned to hear Davis’s appeal – and froze the extradition until that happened.

John B. Peart, Davis’s chief counsel, confirmed that Davis planned to appeal the Court of Appeal’s dismissal at the Supreme Court. The Court sealed his extradition for 15 days wherein Davis and his defense aimed to reach the Supreme Court with an appeal of the dismissal of the original appeal. The original argument Davis based his appeals on stemmed from his diagnosed Asperger’s syndrome. He argued that US prisons garnered a poor reputation for properly treating inmates in need of special care. And his Asperger’s syndrome required a close, hands-on treatment. One that US prisons would fall to provide.

Andrew Frisch, Peter Nash’s lawyer said that US officials would keep Davis at the FBI’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York until the prosecution prepared themselves. “The prosecution is in no rush, so if Gary is extradited he will be on their schedule,” the lawyer added. “He will be kept in the MCC until a time when they are ready to proceed — that is not a pleasant place.”

The MCC, while often used only as a temporary housing prison while inmates await federal sentencing, epitomized the lack of support depicted in Davis’s appeal. And Davis made none of this up; El Chapo, a high profile drug lord, landed there on the night before Donald Trump’s inauguration. This sparked high profile statements about MCC, specifically one from New York Attorney Joshua Dratel. “It [MCC] is worse than Guantanamo. It is about as soul-negating existence as there is in this country in the federal system,” he said.

And even more vividly, authors quoted former prisoner Uzair Paracha in a book about the institution that detailed MCC’s terror: “The cells were the coldest places because the metallic sheets on the walls turned the cells into ice boxes, freezing us inside instead of insulating us from the outside weather, and food items would freeze if I kept them in some parts of my cell.”

Davis is an adult. He is nearing 30-years-old. However, his psychiatrists described him as an youthful man who required constant support from family. Psychiatrist visits helped him in the past, but MCC would fail to provide a similar environment, his defense argued. The alleged Silk Road forum admin, according to the defense counsel and family needed a strong support network to survive. An extradition such as the one he faces would rip him from the ground where he planted roots and then place him in a completely detrimental environment.

The Supreme Court announcement came as welcomed​ news. But in terms of legal stopping points before extradition occurs, the Supreme Court marks the end of the chain. This appeal is likely the last chance Davis has to avoid a potential life sentence in the United States.