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President Trump pardons Dwight and Steven Hammond

The Hammonds are cattle ranchers in Oregon imprisoned in connection with a fire on public grazing land.

Posted: Jul 10, 2018 7:34 AM
Updated: Jul 10, 2018 1:54 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump is pardoning two cattle ranchers convicted of arson in a case that case sparked the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon.

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 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.

Here is the press release 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.

Congressman Greg Walden, in whose district the Hammonds reside, issued the following statement:

“Today is a win for justice, and an acknowledgement of our unique way of life in the high desert, rural West. I applaud President Trump for thoroughly reviewing the facts of this case, rightly determining the Hammonds were treated unfairly, and taking action to correct this injustice.

“For far too long, Dwight and Steven Hammond have been serving a mandatory minimum sentence that was established for terrorists. This is something that would ‘shock the conscience,’ according to Federal Judge Michael Hogan, who presided over the case and used his discretion in sentencing which later was reversed. As ranchers across eastern Oregon frequently tell me, the Hammonds didn’t deserve a five year sentence for using fire as a management tool, something the federal government does all the time.

“Moving forward, I’m encouraging the House Judiciary Committee to act on my legislation to prevent this situation from happening to other ranchers. H.R. 983 would ensure farmers and ranchers are not prosecuted as terrorists for using fire for range-management purposes.

“For now, though, I am pleased that Dwight and Steven Hammond will return to their families and ranches in Harney County. I look forward to welcoming them back home to eastern Oregon.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 354681

Reported Deaths: 4235
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55528700
Washington38530317
Marion36621448
Clackamas29551307
Lane27511300
Jackson22911308
Deschutes20066125
Umatilla14401146
Linn12732127
Douglas12019243
Josephine9334196
Yamhill8645111
Klamath7898116
Polk729981
Malheur559576
Benton543531
Coos498094
Columbia378143
Jefferson370752
Union317348
Lincoln317238
Wasco286540
Crook283546
Clatsop243229
Baker201528
Tillamook195929
Hood River191637
Morrow184023
Curry179825
Harney112126
Grant99513
Lake91812
Wallowa68312
Gilliam1534
Sherman1503
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4835022

Reported Deaths: 71032
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148065626473
Riverside3708005020
San Diego3656704178
San Bernardino3577115627
Orange3237885538
Sacramento1589272303
Kern1455891632
Fresno1455032073
Santa Clara1452251898
Alameda1204021391
San Joaquin1024051721
Ventura1008821166
Contra Costa997401004
Stanislaus858701326
Tulare79709958
San Francisco54299645
San Mateo54046622
Monterey50815583
Solano45958341
Santa Barbara45074522
Merced42144580
Sonoma40895402
Placer39222424
Imperial35906764
Kings32708322
San Luis Obispo29863332
Madera23761285
Butte23726268
Shasta23637349
Santa Cruz20962218
Yolo20275248
Marin17674244
El Dorado17123149
Sutter13873174
Napa12871100
Yuba1003382
Tehama9448108
Humboldt9195108
Nevada912990
Mendocino760087
Lassen754347
San Benito742772
Tuolumne685589
Lake6593104
Amador542964
Siskiyou447046
Glenn435233
Calaveras387280
Del Norte357642
Colusa303318
Inyo208040
Mono16673
Plumas16198
Mariposa132815
Trinity87211
Modoc6795
Unassigned2260
Sierra1840
Alpine1030
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