There are villains in the case of two Oregaon ranchers but it wasn’t the ranchers. The real culprits were the weaponized Bureau of Land Management and the malicious prosecutor making a name for herself. President Donald Trump pardoned the two ranchers, Dwight and Steven Hammond.
The men were forced back into prison in 2016 after the aggressive prosecutor appealed their sentence. She felt the sentence was too light. That was after they agreed not to appeal their sentence as long as it was a lighter sentence.
The Hammonds were tried as terrorists! The judge recognized the absurdity and gave them minimal sentences instead of the recommended five years. The prosecutor appealed, won, and forced them to serve the full five years. The father Dwight was 73 years of age at the time and the son, 46.
As. a reason for pardoning them Tuseday, President Trump said the evidence was conflicting. He also mentioned that they were acquitted of most charges by a jury.
“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 White House said in a statement. “The evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.
Before the sentencing, the Oregon Farm Bureau tried to convince the Bureau of Land Management to to drop the charges. But by this time the department was fully politicized and weaponized.
Ranchers and farmers were targets at the time.
A MOST MALICIOUS PROSECUTION
Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted of committing arson on federal land in 2012 under an anti-terrorism law from 1996. The U.S. District Court judge who sentenced the ranchers believed the mandatory minimum sentence of five years was too harsh. They served short prison sentences. They also agreed to not appeal based on those lighter sentences.
The Hammonds served their time! But federal prosecutors appealed the case and got a federal court to overturn the 2012 judgement.
Their case was one of the reasons the Bundys and their allies took over the Malheur outpost. They were protesting the Hammond imprisonment. When the Hammonds were informed of the occupation, they told the Bundys they did not approve, insisting their names not be used. The two ranchers preferred to go the legal route, they said.
Two agriculture groups have been lobbying President Trump over what they say is a malicious prosecution.
THE CONTROLLED FIRES
The ranchers, Dwight Hammond 73, and Steven Hammond 46, who were overcharged, were convicted of arson, but the fires were actually prescribed fires that grew out of control. There is some question as to how accidental the fires were. Both served their sentences of 3 months for the father and one year for the son.
They admitted to setting the fires but they certainly weren’t terrorists.
Prescribed fires are a normal part of ranching. The Hammonds fires went awry, but when the Bureau of Land Management sets them and they go awry, nothing happens to their employees.
THE FEDS TOOK OVER THE CASE AND WEAPONIZED THE PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE
At this time, the BLM was taking over land and the Obama administration was weaponizing every agency. Officials assumed powers well beyond their purview.
The federal government decided the judge who sentenced the Hammonds should have put each in a federal pen for five years and they took over the case, re-sentencing them after the fact declaring them DOMESTIC TERRORISTS so they could level the harsh sentences.
They were sent to jail for five years, ten years after the first case and five years after the second in what looks vengeful on the part of the government.
Five years is a very long time for someone 73 years old.
Oregon Live reported that the fires were not arson as it is defined and not deliberate. The fires were part of normal ranching:
The Hammonds’ run-ins with the government began in 1999, when Steven Hammond started a fire that escaped onto U.S. Bureau of Land Management territory. The intent of the fire was to burn off juniper and sagebrush that hindered the growth of grass for their cattle.
BLM employees reminded Steven Hammond that although his family leased public land for grazing, he couldn’t burn it without a permit. But in September 2001, the Hammonds started another fire. This one ran off their property on Steens Mountain, consumed 139 acres of public land and took the acreage out of production for two growing seasons, according to court papers.
Then in August 2006, lightning sparked several fires near the spot where the Hammonds grew their winter feed. Steven Hammond set a back-burn to thwart the advancing flames, and it burned across about an acre of public land, according to federal court records.
The ranchers had already served shorter sentences because the federal judge originally overseeing their case said the five-year minimum requirement “would shock the conscience.”
THE MEN AGREED NOT TO APPEAL BASED ON THE LIGHTER SENTENCES
The original judge in their case, U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan, who is now retired, found that a five-year term would violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The sentence, he said, was “grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offenses here.”
Hogan did not believe the men had malicious intent deserving of being labeled terrorists under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
The men agreed to a plea deal that meant they gave up the right to appeal the 2012 sentence. They did it to bring the case to a close.
Before the re-sentencing, the Oregon Farm Bureau tried to convince the BLM to drop the arson charges against the Hammonds and replace them with charges that would not require a mandatory minimum sentence, said Dave Dillon, the organization’s executive vice president.
That didn’t work so the organization then circulated a “Save the Hammonds” petition that has been signed by more than 8,000 people.
“We did not make the progress we thought we should, so we’re taking a more public approach,” Dillon said.
Dillon said he recognized that the Hammonds faced slim chances of receiving less than five years, given the new ruling which came down from the 9th circuit [a leftist activist court].
“I find it incredible that the government would want to try these ranchers as terrorists,” said Barry Bushue, the longtime president of the Oregon Farm Bureau. “Now is where the rubber meets the road. Right now is when the public should absolutely be incensed. And the public, I think, should be fearful.”
The state Farm Bureau group gathered signatures online for a petition to show widespread support for the family. “Enough is enough. We are not in Nazi Germany. We are in the United States of America.”