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    Trump Pardons Two Ranchers Who Inspired 2016 Armed Protest in Oregon

    Trump Pardons Two Ranchers Who Inspired 2016 Armed Protest in Oregon

    “The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.”

    President Donald Trump has pardoned ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, the men who inspired the 2016 armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon, resulting in a stand-off between protestors and the federal government.

    The men were convicted “in 2012 of intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands.”

    Full statement from the White House:

    Today, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency (Full Pardons) for Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., and his son, Steven Hammond.  The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in Oregon imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land.  The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.

    At the Hammonds’ original sentencing, the judge noted that they are respected in the community and that imposing the mandatory minimum, 5-year prison sentence would “shock the conscience” and be “grossly disproportionate to the severity” of their conduct.  As a result, the judge imposed significantly lesser sentences.  The previous administration, however, filed an overzealous appeal that resulted in the Hammonds being sentenced to five years in prison.  This was unjust.

    Dwight Hammond is now 76 years old and has served approximately three years in prison.  Steven Hammond is 49 and has served approximately four years in prison.  They have also paid $400,000 to the United States to settle a related civil suit.  The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West.  Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.

    WaPo explained what happened in January and February of 2016:

    Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted in 2012 of intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands. The arson crime carried a minimum prison sentence of five years, but a sympathetic federal judge, on his last day before retirement, decided the penalty was too stiff and gave the father and son much lighter prison terms.

    Prosecutors won an appeal and the Hammonds were resentenced in October 2015 to serve the mandatory minimum.

    The decision sparked a protest from Ammon Bundy and dozens of others, who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near the Hammond ranch in southeastern Oregon from Jan. 2 to Feb. 11, 2016, complaining the Hammonds were victims of federal overreach.

    The armed occupiers changed the refuge’s name to the Harney County Resource Center, reflecting their belief that the federal government has only a very limited right to own property within a state’s borders.

    [Featured image via YouTube]


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    I’m skeptical of BLM-FBI reports on this topic. Waco is still fresh in my mind (I’m a native of Dallas) and the official version of events was far from completely truthful.

    Add to that the recent evidence of systemic corruption of the FBI… It gives me pause.

      sheepgirl in reply to Fen. | July 10, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      You should be skeptical of the BLM-FBI-DOJ reports. The first fire was both the prescribed burn according to the Hammonds AND the one the prosecutors claim was to cover up poaching using the Hammonds grandson’s unreliable testimony, which neither the juror’s or the judge viewed as truthful and was contradicted by the recording of the permission call to the Fire agency which is in the court transcript. There was other evidence as well, hunting licenses and permits whose dates didn’t match the testimony. The whole story was a prosecutorial concoction to turn a permitted burn into a criminal act.

      The 2nd burn was the protective backburn to defend against the lightening caused wildfires. Being prosecuted for that is demonstrative of the federal double standard that plagues the western states.

      Lays out the long history of BLM bullying and overreach in the pursuit of expanding federal landholdings.

        Milhouse in reply to sheepgirl. | July 12, 2018 at 10:02 am

        You should be much more skeptical of the Bundy family’s propaganda, which the article you cite regurgitates uncritically, as if the Bundys wouldn’t lie.

      Anonamom in reply to Fen. | July 11, 2018 at 10:42 am

      And please don’t forget Ruby Ridge. The feds are not our friends, and they lie as routinely.

        Mac45 in reply to Anonamom. | July 11, 2018 at 1:05 pm

        You mean where a wanted felon camped up on a mountain for a whole year, being aided and abetted by family and friends and refused to surrender to LEOs? The incident where two armed members of that group got into a deadly shootout with federal agents, away from the family compound? That Ruby Ridge?

          Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | July 12, 2018 at 10:06 am

          The felon was set up in the first place. And the felony the government finally managed to persuade him to commit was of dubious constitutionality, and did not make him a dangerous person whose arrest would justify such extreme measures. But yes, he was not innocent.

    Thesr guys were in prison, and hillary klinton is still free.

    Jeff Sessions should be locked up in he place.

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