A decision may be imminent on presidential clemency for two Oregon ranchers serving five-year minimum mandatory sentences for arson, according to farm groups seeking their release.
Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son, Steven Hammond, 49, were convicted in 2012 of setting fire to rangeland close to their ranch near Burns, for which they were initially sentenced to prison terms of three months and one year, respectively.
However, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned those more lenient sentences at the urging of the U.S. government, finding the ranchers had to complete the full five-year minimum terms for arson required by federal law.
The Hammonds reported to prison in early 2016 to begin serving the remainder of their time, but protests of their plight culminated in the standoff between federal agents and armed occupiers at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
The father and son asked for clemency from President Barack Obama shortly after resuming incarceration, but it now appears their request has gained traction under the Trump administration.
WHO ARE THESE HAMMONDS EVERYONE IS TALKING ABOUT?
PRESIDENT TRUMP IS ON THE VERGE OF GRANTING CLEMENCY __ SIGN THE PETITION & BE A PART OF HISTORY!!
#FreeTheHammonds Sign The Petition!! Oregon ranchers charged with terrorism under the 1996 effective death penalty act for lighting a back burn on their property that spilled over to federally managed land. Sentenced and sent to prison twice!!! The original judge’s sentencing decision was over turned by the 9th circuit court of appeals after these men were already home for a few years. The original judge refused to impose the mandatory minimum 5 year sentence as he felt it was a violation of the 8th amendment and would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. This resulted in them going back to prison the second time. They are currently finishing out their sentences at Terminal Island. Dwight is 76 and Steven is 47. Steven is scheduled to be home June 29, 2019 and Dwight Not until Feb 13, 2020.
The 1996 Effective Death Penalty Act was NEVER intended to be used in this fashion. It was intended to prosecute people like Timothy McVeigh and the Unibomber.
Stay Informed Join The Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1383859681800230/
Ranchers are NOT terrorists and these men need to be home!!!
Protect the Harvest, a nonprofit representing agriculture and hunting interests, has learned the Hammonds’ request for clemency has in recent weeks come under review by the Office of the White House Counsel Don McGhan, said Dave Duquette, the group’s national strategic planner.
“It’s moving much quicker than we anticipated it moving,” he said. “That’s a good thing, from what I’ve heard.”
The Hammonds have sought a commutation of their sentences but are hoping for a full pardon, which is within the president’s power to give, Duquette said.
“If they only get a commutation, then they’re still felons,” and subject to a prohibition on owning guns, among other restrictions, he said.
Jerome Rosa, executive director of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said he recently broached the subject with Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke during a visit to Washington, D.C.
Just as Congress recently affirmed that air emissions from livestock weren’t intended to be regulated under the Superfund statute for hazardous waste, so too rangeland fires weren’t intended to be punished as arson, he said.
Zinke agreed with this sentiment, giving the sign of the cross while vowing to give his blessing for their release to President Donald Trump, according to Rosa.
Local employees of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which is overseen by the Interior Department, seem to have developed “hard feelings” in the matter and supported the Hammonds return to prison, he said.
The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and Oregon Farm Bureau are planning to submit a court brief in a civil lawsuit urging that the Hammonds grazing privileges be restored, Rosa said.
Duquette said he believes the Hammonds’ dispute with federal officials in the region originated because the government wanted to buy their property for inclusion in the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.
However, he said, it’s unfortunate that in the public’s mind, the occupation of the refuge has become entwined with the Hammonds, who did not support the takeover.
Pardoning the ranchers would be a show of goodwill by the new presidential administration, Duquette said. “It shows they’re getting things done and trying to right the wrongs that were done before.”