President Donald Trump holds up a signed letter he wrote to a member of the U.S. Military on Monday, April 17, 2017, during the 139th Easter Egg Roll at the White House, in Washington, D.C. This was the first Easter Egg Roll of the Trump Administration. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
By 1600 Staff
President Trump showed mercy by granting clemency to two Oregon ranchers who started fires on federal land.
According to Fox News:
President Trump on Tuesday pardoned the father and son ranchers from Oregon whose imprisonment for setting fires on federal land sparked a 41-day takeover of a wildlife refuge in the state.
Trump signed the order granting clemency to 76-year-old Dwight Hammond and his son, Steven Hammond, 49, who were convicted of arson in 2012 for fires that burned on federal land in 2001 and 2006.
Though they served their original sentences for the conviction — Dwight serving three months, Steven serving one year — an appellate judge ruled in 2015 that the terms were too short under federal minimum sentencing laws and the Hammonds were resentenced to serve the mandatory minimum. This decision led to the 2016 protests.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders went even further in a statement, saying the following:
“At the Hammonds’ original sentencing, the judge noted that they are respected in the community and that imposing the mandatory minimum, 5-year prison sentence would “shock the conscience” and be “grossly disproportionate to the severity” of their conduct. As a result, the judge imposed significantly lesser sentences. The previous administration, however, filed an overzealous appeal that resulted in the Hammonds being sentenced to five years in prison. This was unjust.
Dwight Hammond is now 76 years old and has served approximately three years in prison. Steven Hammond is 49 and has served approximately four years in prison. They have also paid $400,000 to the United States to settle a related civil suit. The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community, and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement, and farmers and ranchers across the West. Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond, both of whom are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.”
The Obama administration threw the book at the Hammonds in the appeals process. Their “unjust”treatment inspired the protests and eventual standoff with Ammon Bundy and dozens of protesters in early 2016, who occupied the federal wildlife refuge in Oregon that caught fire as a result of the Hammonds’ crimes. The incident reflected an overreaction from the Obama administration, whose policies caused great unrest in Western states for their actions.
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