Donald Trump face shot Andrew Harrer/Pool/GettyImages

Trump pardons ranchers Dwight and Steve Hammond

Updated: AFBF praises pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond.

President Trump today (July 10) signed full pardons for Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr., and his son, Steven Hammond. 

“President Trump’s pardon of Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond tells us there is still hope for justice in environmental law enforcement," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall.

“We are extremely grateful to President Trump for granting a full pardon to Dwight and Steven Hammond,” said Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands. “The Hammonds were forced to suffer from grave injustice for far too long, and the entire ranching community is relieved that they will be reunited with their families. No rancher undertaking normal agricultural practices should fear spending years in jail at the hands of the federal government.”

The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in Oregon imprisoned in connection with a fire that consumed more than 100 acres of 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.

At the Hammonds’ original sentencing, the judge noted they are respected in the community and 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. After an appeal, the Hammonds were sentenced to five years in prison. 

“Farm Bureau was shocked by the minimum five-year sentence the Hammonds faced. Even worse was the Justice Department’s decision to use anti-terrorism laws to prosecute them," Duvall said. "We could not be happier this ugly chapter in governmental overreach has come to an end.”

Dwight Hammond is now 76 years old and has served about three years in prison. Steven Hammond is 49 and has served about four years in prison. They have also paid $400,000 to the United States to settle a related civil suit. 

Source: The White House, NCBA, AFBF

Related articles:

The Hammonds called the five-year terms unconstitutional and fought them in court. - National Public Radio

Case sparked the armed occupation of a national wildlife refuge in Oregon. - StatesmanJournal

Dwight's wife and Steven's mother, Susie, said she had a "sense that things are moving forward and I have faith in our president. If anyone is going to help them, he'd be the one." - OregonLive

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