Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond have been granted a full pardon from President Trump after they were forced back into prison after they had already served time under a 1996 terrorist law.
“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.” White House statement
The Hammonds went to prison as “terrorists” for starting two backfires to protect their property from wildfires. The backfires burned into parts of federal grazing land, and Federal prosecutors tried them under a terrorist law from 1996. Terrorist law (think about it). The Hammonds plead guilty to two counts of setting the fires, and all the other counts were dismissed by the judge. The District Court that initially sentenced them felt that the “mandatory minimum” sentence was too harsh so the Judge gave them a lighter sentence.
“After the original trial, Judge Michael Hogan said the crimes the Hammonds were convicted for “could not have been conduct intended under (the terrorism law).” He said five years of jail time “would result in a sentence which is grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses here…” and would “shock the conscience.” This is the judge who presided over the entire trial and knew every fact of the case.” Oregon Farm Bureau
Enter Obama’s DOJ, who decided that they must serve the mandatory minimum after all. Prosecutors went after them for the arson of Federal lands. So they were sent BACK to Federal prison after having already served their time.
It was that action that helped spark the armed confrontation at Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Reservation in 2016 and led to the death of LaVoy Finicum. The Obama administration was good at trying people under laws that were not applicable to the actual case, and were often accused of malicious prosecution.
Never mind that the BLM sets fires regularly that threaten the properties of many ranchers and farmers across the West.
The Daily Caller reported:
“I’ve had great attorneys tell me this is the most malicious prosecution they’ve ever seen,” PTH national strategic planner Dave Duquette told The Daily Caller News Foundation in June.
“The travesty is what they were tried under. Not whether they started a fire. They admitted to starting the fires,” Duquette said.
President Trump has pardoned 5 people thus far, and commuted the sentences of two.