Industry Groups Cheer Trump's Pardon of Father, Son Imprisoned in Connection to Grazing Land FireTue, 10 Jul 2018 14:08:58 CDT
Today, President Donald J. Trump signed Executive Grants of Clemency (Full Pardons) for Dwight Lincoln Hammond, Jr. (76), and his son, Steven Hammond (49). 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 evidence at trial regarding the Hammonds’ responsibility for the fire was conflicting, and the jury acquitted them on most of the charges.
Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council and NCBA Federal Lands, responded to the President's action expressing his gratitude on behalf of American cattle producers.
“We are extremely grateful to President Trump for granting a full pardon to Dwight and Steven Hammond. 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," Lane stated. "No rancher undertaking normal agricultural practices should fear spending years in jail at the hands of the federal government. NCBA and PLC have continued to advocate for the Hammonds’ release, and we would like to thank Representative Greg Walden and the many others who worked tirelessly on their behalf.”
R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued a statement as well thanking President Trump.
"We are thankful for President Trump's pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond. Their lengthy incarceration was viewed by many in the cattle industry, including us, as unjust and unwarranted.
"We are well aware that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the agency that brought charges against the Hammonds, has been systematically eliminating both grazing opportunities and ranchers from federally managed lands. In a separate case also involving the BLM, and one that occurred around the same timeframe as the Hammonds' case, a federal district court found the BLM had engaged in an intentional conspiracy to deprive a rancher of his permits and water rights. The court found that the government's behavior directed toward the rancher "shocks the conscience of the Court.
"We believe the government's behavior against the Hammonds was similarly shocking and we initiated a social media effort to assist other individuals and organizations, including Protect the Harvest and the Oregon Cattlemen's Association, in calling upon President Trump to pardon the Hammonds.
"We welcome the Hammonds back home to their ranch and wish them the very best in getting their lives and their ranch back on track."
President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Zippy Duvall also remarked on the President's pardon.
“President Trump’s pardon of Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond tells us there is still hope for justice in environmental law enforcement. The Hammonds were thrown into prison for nothing more than burning an invasive species that threatened their ranch - a standard ranching practice that is both lawful and widely accepted. The fire spread further than it should have, and consumed more than 100 acres of federal grazing land, but that hardly makes the Hammonds criminals. Pardoning them was the right thing to do, and we thank Rep. Greg Walden for advocating so effectively for these men.
“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. We could not be happier this ugly chapter in governmental overreach has come to an end.”
Source - The White House / NCBA / R-CALF USA / AFBF
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