Trump pardons OR ranchers whose case sparked 2016 militia standoff

Trump pardons OR ranchers whose case sparked 2016 militia standoff

OR ranchers who repeatedly clashed with federal officers over the use of public lands, and whose imprisonment motivated fellow rancher Ammon Bundy to lead an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve in 2016.

"The administration taking this step today and pardoning the Hammond's and sending them home is sending that message that we get it and understand we have some ground to cover to rebuild trust with ranchers", said Lane. The Hammond family and their supporters insisted they started a "prescribed fire" to burn off invasive species, and the case became a symbol to some conservatives of government overreach in rural parts of the American west.

In granting their pardons, President Trump said the Hammonds are devoted family men and have widespread support from their neighbors.

The court sentenced Dwight Hammond to three months in prison, and Steven Hammond to a year and a day - which they completely served. The Hammonds, father and son, had been serving five-year federal prison sentences and will be immediately released.

"The previous administration, however, filed an overzealous appeal that resulted in the Hammonds being sentenced to five years in prison". Local officials including a Republican congressman had urged Trump to pardon them.

The pardon will likely be well-received from some portions of Trump's base, some of whom believe that the Bureau of Land Management, which oversaw the federal land, is essentially unjust. What I do know is that their case eventually led to the Bundy brothers taking over the Malheur wildlife refuge headquarters in OR, becoming a cause célèbre among the "sovereign citizens" and other assorted militia nutballs out here in the West.

In its second challenge against the family, BLM succeeded in not only obtaining a conviction against Dwight and Steven Hammond but also in overturning the sentencing ruling by the first judge and the levy of significantly more punitive sentences under a second judge. However, in October 2015, a federal appeals court ordered them to be resentenced to the mandatory minimum.

More news: Chelsea players take first training session after learning of Antonio Conte sacking

The Hammonds have been locked up since January 4, 2016, after they were re-sentenced following their 2012 conviction for arson on public lands.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that evidence against the Hammonds was "conflicting" and noted the trial judge's opposition to imposing the required mandatory minimum sentence.

Their return to prison in early 2016 sparked protests that led to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Ore.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, two sons of Cliven Bundy, and five other defendants were acquitted in 2016 by a federal jury in Portland on charges stemming from the takeover. By pardoning the Hammonds, Trump's actions were seen as a tacit approval of the refuge's occupation.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) also reportedly reached out to Pence to help secure the release of the Hammonds.

Walden also wrote on Facebook on July 1 that Trump had called him to tell him he was "seriously considering" pardoning the OR ranchers.

"President Trump's pardon of OR ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond tells us there is still hope for justice in environmental law enforcement".

Related Articles