Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Latest news
Main » President Trump signs pardons for cattle ranchers whose convictions sparked 2016 occupation

President Trump signs pardons for cattle ranchers whose convictions sparked 2016 occupation

10 July 2018

The White House noted that Dwight Hammond, 76, had already served about three years behind bars and that his son Steven, 49, had served almost four years in prison. The trial judge in their case ignored the five-year mandatory minimum imposed by Congress and sentenced them to shorter terms, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered them to be re-sentenced.

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

President Trump pardoned two OR ranchers Tuesday who were convicted of arson in a case that prompted an armed occupation of a wildlife refuge by opponents of federal land ownership.

The statement added: "Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency".

The return to prison of Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond helped spark the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in early 2016.

The pardons are Trump's latest show of wielding his presidential power to grant clemency, which critics say intends to dramatize his own complaints of being the victim of a "witch hunt" by United States prosecutors.

The pardons are the latest in a growing list of clemency actions by Trump, who has been using his pardon power with increasingly frequency in recent months.

He has repeatedly referenced emotional video of Johnson being freed from prison and running into her family members' arms, and has said he's considering thousands more cases - both famous and not.

Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.

The Hammonds were given five years, with credit for time served, in 2015.

The Hammonds were convicted of crimes that require a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five years in prison under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

"The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in OR imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land", the White House said in a statement. The pair had also coughed up $400,000 to settle a civil suit with the feds.

President Trump signs pardons for cattle ranchers whose convictions sparked 2016 occupation