Trump Pardons Oregon Ranchers Convicted of Arson on Federal Lands

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers at center of 40-day standoff

Trump pardons Oregon ranchers at center of 40-day standoff

Just 25 miles away is Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which was taken over in 2016 by armed protesters angered by the five-year prison sentences given to the Hammonds after they were convicted of setting fires on federal land.

"They now think they have a friend in the White House who does not value public lands", said Aaron Weiss, media director for the Center for Western Priorities, a nonprofit that advocates protecting public land. "Trump's move marks yet another big victory for backers of the Hammonds, including Ammon Bundy and his followers who repeatedly cited the case as the trigger for the 41-day occupation of the wildlife refuge that abuts the Hammond family ranch".

The Hammonds were convicted in 2012 after a jury found them guilty of intentionally and maliciously setting fires on public lands.

"We brought it to the attention of the vice president, " said David Duquette, a Hermiston resident who serves as national strategic planner for the advocacy group Protect the Harvest.

Originally, federal prosecutors charged the Hammonds in 2010 with burning more than 45,000 acres of federal land near their ranch in Diamond, Ore., in blazes dating back to the 1980s. Prosecutors said in 2016 they set fires to cover up evidence of poaching. "The fire spread farther than it should have and consumed more than 100 acres of federal grazing land, but that hardly makes the Hammonds criminals". The relatively short sentences came despite mandatory minimum sentences of five years.

U.S. District Judge Michael R. Hogan said such a lengthy sentence "would not meet any idea I have of justice, proportionality ... it would be a sentence which would shock the conscience to me".

They were initially sentenced to less than the legal minimum five years in prison by a judge who said the minimum was too harsh. However, in October 2015, a federal appeals court ordered them to be resentenced to the mandatory minimum. It turned deadly when police shot one of the occupiers. They say he reached for a pistol at a roadblock.

More news: Trump to visit Britain amid Brexit turmoil
More news: Thailand Rescue Officials Say Elon Musk's Submarine Was 'Not Practical'
More news: US soldier killed in 'apparent insider attack' in Afghanistan

Outside the Hammond home on Court Avenue in downtown Burns, an American flag was flying by the front door and a huge banner sat on the front lawn that read, "Thank you President Trump You Freed the Hammonds". Williams declined to comment on the pardons.

The Hammonds largely distanced themselves from the occupation and are part of a family known in the high desert of eastern OR for its generosity and community contributions.

At the time, Bundy told CNN that he wanted the federal government to relinquish control of the wildlife refuge so "people can reclaim their resources".

A still from the January 2016 protest march against the Hammonds' re-imprisonment led by Ammon Bundy.

The White House in a statement on Tuesday called the order to return the two to prison "unjust". "Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these grants of executive clemency".

Dwight Hammond has served about three years of his sentence and Steven Hammond has served about four of his.

"Today is a win for justice, and an acknowledgment of our unique way of life in the high desert, rural West", he said in a statement.

Recommended News

  • NATO Meeting Ends With US Allies Promise to Reach Spending Target

    NATO Meeting Ends With US Allies Promise to Reach Spending Target

    Trump's remarks on Germany and Russian Federation generated a sharply worded response from German Chancellor Angela Merkel . Trump told reporters the two had a "very, very good relationship" and congratulated Merkel on her "tremendous success".
    Flake: Concerned by Trump's Rhetoric, Demeaning Allies and Praising Adversaries

    Flake: Concerned by Trump's Rhetoric, Demeaning Allies and Praising Adversaries

    On top of that we lose $151 Billion on Trade with the European Union. "Charge us big Tariffs (& Barriers)!" he added. He said that of the high-stakes meetings of his trip, "Putin may be the easiest of them all".
    Netflix Introduces Smart Downloads

    Netflix Introduces Smart Downloads

    The feature is now available on Android phones and tablets running the latest iteration of the Netflix application. But the problem with the feature as it stood was that you had to manually download each episode in a series.
  • Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus set to sign Real Madrid forward

    Cristiano Ronaldo: Juventus set to sign Real Madrid forward

    Club legend, Cristiano Ronaldo is angling towards a move away from the club this summer. The Real Madrid star is on the verge of completing a move to Juventus .
    George Clooney Injured in Italy Car Crash

    George Clooney Injured in Italy Car Crash

    Clooney is in Italy (aside from the fact that he famously has a home in Lake Como ) to shoot a Hulu series in Sardinia. According toLa Nuova, an ambulance arrived and carted the injured Clooney to Sardinia's John Paul II Hospital.
    Teaneck community mourns 5 family members killed in crash

    Teaneck community mourns 5 family members killed in crash

    Melissa Jaffe said police didn't immediately know the ages of the children or what part of New Jersey the family is from. Mary Rose was taken to Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware , with serious injuries after the crash , reports said.
  • IDF Patriot missile shoots down Syrian drone over Sea of Galilee

    IDF Patriot missile shoots down Syrian drone over Sea of Galilee

    Israel, which captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war, has largely stayed out of the current conflict. Russia, another top key ally of Assad, has warned it would be unrealistic to expect Iran to fully withdraw from the country.
    Rescue efforts for boys trapped in Thai cave begin

    Rescue efforts for boys trapped in Thai cave begin

    Cave rescue experts have said they consider an underwater escape to be a last resort, especially with people untrained in diving. Osattanakorn would not confirm the identities of the boys, but it has been reported that the weakest boys were taken first.
    WhatsApp launches a feature that labels forwarded messages

    WhatsApp launches a feature that labels forwarded messages

    Also on Tuesday, WhatsApp launched an education campaign in India that's aimed at helping users spot fake news on the platform. In the latest occurrence, five people were lynched by a mob in Maharashtra on the suspicion of being child kidnappers.
  • Meghan Markle brushes rumours of controversy aside by wearing Emilia Wickstead

    Meghan Markle brushes rumours of controversy aside by wearing Emilia Wickstead

    Duchess Meghan wore a black, sleeveless, tea-length Emilia Wickstead dress for a reception at the British amassador's residence. During their short trip to Ireland, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have had a packed itinerary, including a trip to Croke Park.
    England V. Croatia, Winner Will Play France

    England V. Croatia, Winner Will Play France

    However, there were far fewer teams then with just 13 in the first World Cup in 1930 and 16 four years later. They are two great players, everyone knows that. "We still changed the history of the past 28 years".
    Trump says he’s still confident Kim will denuclearize

    Trump says he’s still confident Kim will denuclearize

    During the trilateral meeting in Tokyo, Kono thanked Pompeo for that, a senior Foreign Ministry official said later on Sunday.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.