Justice

Trump said to be ‘seriously considering’ pardon for arsonists who inspired Bundy wildlife refuge standoff

If you remember when an armed militia occupied an Oregon federal wildlife sanctuary in January of 2016, you might also remember the case of Dwight and Steven Hammond.

The Hammonds didn’t take part in the standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, but it was their then-pending incarceration that inspired it. The group, led by Ammon Bundy, believed that the Hammonds, who were ultimately given five years for setting fires on federal land, were sentenced too harshly.

Another person who disagrees with the sentence is Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), and he now says President Trump told him this Saturday that he’s “seriously considering” a pardon for the Eastern Oregon ranchers.

“Late Saturday afternoon, President Trump called me to say he is ‘seriously considering’ pardoning Dwight and Steven Hammond,” Walden said in a statement released Sunday.

“Prosecutorial overzealousness by the federal government under the Obama Administration ignored Judge Hogan’s judicial discretion and doubled down, forcing them to serve a mandatory minimum sentence established for terrorists,” he continued.

“President Trump can right this wrong. I again strongly urged the president to administer the justice that is long overdue for these Eastern Oregon ranchers by granting them a pardon so that they can get back to Harney County and their families.”

The Hammonds were convicted in 2012 of arson after prosecutors charged them of starting fired to destroy evidence of game violations. The father, was originally sentenced to 3 months, and his son Steven was originally sentenced to a year, but a federal judge later ruled that their terms were too short under U.S. minimum sentencing law and ordered them back to prison for about 4 years each.

In a show of support for the Hammonds, the militia seized the Oregon wildlife refuge and hunkered down for a standoff that lasted nearly six weeks.

At the end of the standoff, one militia member was shot dead when he reached for a handgun that was concealed in his pocket at the end of a pursuit by authorities.

Featured image via DOJ

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