Hammond's lawyers said the purchases made from credit cards obtained via hacks were not for personal gain, but for good purposes such as donations to nonprofits, which the prosecutors agreed with.
"Sometimes laws must be broken to make room for change," Hammond said, to address "the hypocrisy of law and order."
Hammond recognized his crime but that his intent wasn't to harm others.
"It is time for me to move on to other forms of seeking change," Hammond said.
But the government argued that Hammond's hacks caused more damage than benefits, causing losses to companies and exposing personal information of government workers, police officers and relatives. Moreover, the government argued that he had already spent time jail on a similar hacking charge when he was 19, and that his attitude toward hacking as a form of political protest hadn't changed.
Preska was harsh on Hammond, saying he isn't a civil rights leader like Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, a U.S. patriot like John Adams or even a whistleblower like Daniel Ellsburg. Hammond broke the law, his crimes caused damage and losses and there are consequences to committing crimes, Preska said.
"Mr. Hammond sees to think of himself as a modern-day Robin Hood," Preska said, adding that some of his hacks to private organizations had no political motive.
Hammond also faces three years of supervised release after his jail term.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.