Tuesday morning, President Trump announced that he had pardoned two Oregon ranchers sent to jail on terrorism charges. In 2012 Steven and Dwight Hammond were arrested after a back burn on their property moved on to federal land, burning roughly 100 acres. While 21 charges were originally brought up against the father and son, they were eventually only convicted on a single arson charge each. However, after serving their initial sentences, federal prosecutors wanted both men to serve five years each on terrorism charges. The case went to the 9th circuit court of appeals where the two were ordered back to jail in 2016.
Barry Bushue, President of the Oregon Farm Bureau said the hypocrisy of the federal government angered many in the ranching community.
“The federal government starts fires and backfires all of the time to manage its rangelands, and they commonly get on to private lands. And of course there’s no court cases, no restitution, nothing else. We always felt it was a double standard, this is more of a vindictiveness then it was about justice.”
Bushue said many across rural Oregon were disturbed when the Hammonds were ordered back to jail.
“It sent a shockwave through the community, asking who’s next? It also sent a shock wave, do we dare question our permits, do we dare try to protect our permit? Do we dare try to protect our livestock and the land we live on? We don’t want to end up in jail like the Hammonds.”
Bushue thanked Representative Greg Walden for his work to get the Hammonds out of prison.
The Hammond’s case was sited many times by Ammon Bundy and his followers who occupied the Burns Wildlife Refuge office for over a month.
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