Cop Blaster founder Cyrus Sullivan finally completed his final term of federal supervised release on Tuesday, November 16, 2021. This might come as a shock to some because many didn't realize that he was still on supervision after his original terms of supervision expired.
Sullivan was originally on supervision for a 2013 guilty plea to making threatening communication in violation of 18 U.S.C. 875(c) the previous year. He was sentenced to two years in federal prison plus three years of supervised release. Before he was scheduled to be released from the custody of the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in 2014, he was charged with assaulting a federal employee and sentenced to a consecutive two year term plus three years of supervised released (https://copblaster.com/blast/34/whitney-struse-the-banality-of-evil). Due to a bureaucratic error, Sullivan was sent to a high security United States Penitentiary in Victorville, California (USP Victorville) where he remained for the entirety of his sentence because even after he got his classification error corrected he had too little time left on his sentence to qualify for a transfer (https://copblaster.com/blast/44/victorville-disciplinary-hearing-officer-diana-elliott-is-ridiculous). While at USP Victorville he was beaten and tortured by staff in the Special Housing Unit (SHU) for which Sullivan obtained a $10,000 settlement after suing the feds while acting as his own attorney (https://copblaster.com/blast/34427/feds-agree-to-settle-usp-victorville-brutality-lawsuit).
Sullivan was first released from BOP custody in May of 2016, but he was found guilty of violating a condition of his supervision the following year. Sullivan had been ordered not to use a computer without permission from his probation officer. That condition was later changed after the Ninth Circuit ruled such conditions to be unconstitutional in an unrelated case. Sullivan received new conditions requiring him to install monitoring software on his computer and prohibiting him from operating his business. The court justified the former on the grounds that his instant offense involved using a computer to send a threatening email to someone and the court justified the latter by saying that his business was related to the offense due to the person he threatened provoking him in a dispute over his business. All would have been well, but probation abused the monitoring condition by installing software that ruined any computer Sullivan had it installed on. He disabled the monitoring software and posted a guide to help others do the same in an effort to discourage probation from using that software (https://copblaster.com/blast/2237/ippc-technologies-exposed-in-court-by-computer-expert). After his probation officer filed a petition to revoke his supervision, he fought back by aggregating publicly available information pertaining to those responsible for his persecution and launching this website.
Sullivan was detained as a "danger to the community" in February of 2017 while the disposition of his violation was pending. It was the government's hope that they could hold him long enough to bring this site down. Sullivan's 2012 prosecution was motivated primarily by the desire to shut down the websites he operated at the time and it worked, but only because Sullivan was arrested at a lucky time for them. Sullivan was prepared the second time, so the site stayed up the entire time he was in jail. Sullivan would then threaten to post information (including home addresses) of jail staff if they did or didn't do certain things. Eventually they had enough and assaulted Sullivan by breaking his left arm in a secluded cell. They tried to cover up their tracks by charging Sullivan with assault, but eventually an expert witness provided proof that Sullivan's explanation was the only one given capable of explaining his injury (https://copblaster.com/uploads/files/expert-witness-report_compressed.pdf). He was offered a sentence of time served if he pled to a lesser charge and he took the offer.
Sullivan was sentenced to three years of supervision for impeding a federal officer on November 28, 2018. He was sentenced by a judge from the District of Arizona because Sullivan had run off his Oregon judge by sending a letter to his home from jail asking him to recuse himself. The Arizona judge gave Sullivan a fresh start with the court and she treated him fairly. Sullivan also got lucky with the state of the law at the time of his guilty plea. Because he was a pre-trial detainee the entire time he was being held on the new charge that time was counted towards supervision on his old cases. Sullivan had finished serving his violation sentence in August of 2017 and received two years of supervision following that. Since his new term of supervision was concurrent to his new one and his time as a pretrial detainee was concurrent to it, he finished his two year term of supervision in those cases in late August of 2019. At that point he re-launched several sites that were part of his original business. He was already able to operate Cop Blaster without violating his conditions in the old cases because it was new and thus not related to his old business.
SULLIVAN ON SUPERVISION
Sullivan's time on supervision was an unusual one for probation, the U.S. Attorney's Office (USAO), and the court.
Probation assigned Sullivan a new probation officer for a fresh start and that officer always treated Sullivan reasonably. Every once in awhile he would show up unannounced and question Sullivan about his online activities. Usually it was in response to complaints he received from law enforcement. There was the time that Sullivan posted the home address of then Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf (https://copblaster.com/blast/25843/chad-f-wolf-acting-secretary-of-homeland-security-home-address), showed up at the trial of a jailhouse buddy before posting information about witnesses in the case (https://copblaster.com/hashtag/jeremy-christian/), and other times that complaints were forwarded to probation about pending investigations into Sullivan's online activities. The officer's questions usually centered around Sullivan's intent behind the publication of home addresses. Sullivan always answered that he only includes such information when it improves the user experience, could be used to plan peaceful protests, or improves public safety by letting people know places to avoid. Sullivan had put a block on the home address field of reports about police officers, prosecutors, judges, corrections, and probation that is programmed to to stop working if he is prevented from logging into his account for more than 14 days for any reason (https://copblaster.com/blast/125/cop-blaster-to-censor-home-addresses-temporarily), but he still pastes addresses into the descriptions of reports sometimes. Sullivan realized that the block would give law enforcement a good motive to treat him fairly by not looking for lame excuses to put him in jail, but that not having the block would make his site nothing but a target. Sullivan made it easy for probation not to find excuses to lock him up by living a law abiding lifestyle. That was never hard for Sullivan because he has never lived a criminal lifestyle. He just lost his temper online one day, got 2 years for it, and has such a low tolerance to being bossed around that the likelihood of him being able to serve any lengthy prison term without acquiring new charges for assaulting staff is nearly zero. Sometimes how somebody behaves in prison is not indicative of how well they will do in society and Sullivan is one such case. A case in which the best way to protect society from future crimes is to let the prisoner go.
The USAO had agreed as a condition of his plea not to seek any sort of conditions that would restrict him from operating his websites in any way while on supervision in the new case. This meant that they couldn't respond to complaints from the public by seeking new release conditions unless those complaints included proof of criminal activity. As a result, the USAO never sought new conditions from the court no matter how many complaints were forwarded to their office from other law enforcement agencies. The Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) assigned to the case typically responded by telling other agencies that Sullivan was not violating any law or court conditions. This may have been confusing for some because the original AUSA assigned to Sullivan's cases had argued in court that his business was illegal. The Daily Caller pointed this out in an article last year (https://dailycaller.com/2020/08/16/cyrus-sullivan-cop-blaster-std-carriers-death-threat/), but Sullivan did not tell Daily Caller that he was still on supervision because he didn't want to burden his probation officer with a flood of frivolous complaints. Now that he is free to discuss his status he feels that his status as a supervisee at the time that article came out proves that his business was never illegal. Had the business been illegal he could have been charged with violating his terms of supervision by engaging in new criminal conduct. One thing that surely played a role in that not happening was a special part of his plea agreement which required the USAO to be consulted by probation before filing charges of violations with the court. The purpose of that condition was to protect Sullivan from being wrongfully charged with a violation because without it all a probation officer needs to violate someone is "probably cause." This was a source of great vindication for Sullivan who feels that he can finally prove once and for all that he never should have been charged with a crime related to his business model in the first place.
The court scheduled status conferences with the parties ever few months. These conferences served primarily as a way for the government and the court to discuss concerns regarding Sullivan's online activities. There were a few times when the court thought Sullivan got close to the line, but never crossed it. Sullivan didn't agree with every decision the judge made, but always felt she treated him fairly. He started trying to get released from supervision early many months ago and wasn't let off until just now, but other than keeping him on a leash longer than he liked he can't think of anything to complain about. The status conferences did give Sullivan some useful insight into how often the government received complaints about him, which was on a regular basis. The judge always respected Sullivan's First Amendment rights even though she made it clear that she often didn't agree with how he exercised those rights. She did what a judge is supposed to do. She enforced the law. She didn't look for excuses to bend the law to her liking like her predecessor did.
Oddly, Sullivan's picture appearing in The New York Times earlier this year never came up (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/04/24/technology/online-slander-websites.html). Sullivan doubts that probation was unaware of the article, but that they knew it was irrelevant to his performance on supervision. Sullivan also found it odd that no journalist that interviewed him while on supervision bothered to ask if he was on supervision. One would think that investigative reporters from The New York Times and Daily Caller would have tried to figure out if he were under any type of court supervision, but apparently now.
CHANGES TO COME
Sullivan plans to use his new found freedom to build a criminal network of convicts by reaching out to guys he did time with that are still inside. Sullivan was banned as a standard condition of supervision from associating with known felons. This impeded his work because it meant he could reach out to current inmates for comment on cases and/or conditions. Sullivan now plans to start writing guys he did time with that are still incarcerated and asking them if they would like to be heard.
Sullivan also plans to spend far less time sitting at a screen. He wants to go out and enjoy real life for a change.
All Cyrus Sullivan ever needed to successfully complete his term of federal supervised release was a judge, prosecutor, and probation officer that upheld the Constitution.