Just a few days ago, I reported on a petition at the White House website calling for the pardoning of Dwight and Steven Hammond, what many of us see as an injustice. The petition has garnered just over 4,000 signatures, which is a crying shame considering what these men have been put through. Nevertheless, a clemency decision for the Hammond men may be forthcoming, according to reports.
According to the Blue Mountain Eagle:
The father and son asked for clemency from President Barack Obama shortly after resuming incarceration, but it now appears their request has gained traction under the Trump administration.
Protect the Harvest, a nonprofit representing agriculture and hunting interests, has learned the Hammonds’ request for clemency has in recent weeks come under review by the Office of the White House Counsel Don McGhan, said Dave Duquette, the group’s national strategic planner.
“It’s moving much quicker than we anticipated it moving,” he said. “That’s a good thing, from what I’ve heard.”
The Hammonds have sought a commutation of their sentences but are hoping for a full pardon, which is within the president’s power to give, Duquette said.
“If they only get a commutation, then they’re still felons,” and subject to a prohibition on owning guns, among other restrictions, he said.
William Perry Pendley, president of Mountain States Legal Foundation in Denver and author of “Sagebrush Rebel: Reagan’s Battle With Environmental Extremists and Why It Matters Today,” wrote an op-ed earlier this week in which he said that Trump should issue a pardon for the Hammonds.
“In April, President Trump pardoned I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby Jr., top aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was convicted in an abuse of prosecutorial discretion,” Pendley wrote. “Now the president should do the same thing for Dwight L. Hammond, Jr., 76, and his son Steven Dwight Hammond, 49, long-suffering ranchers in rural Oregon.”
Now, why would an aide to Dick Cheney be pardoned ahead of two men who were only engaging in what ranchers do normally? One does have to wonder if it’s because of political ties.
The Hammonds are the victims of one of the most egregious, indefensible and intolerable instances of prosecutorial misconduct in history. Their situation cries out for justice that can come only from President Trump.
The Hammonds’ crime? They set a legally permissible fire on their own property, which accidentally burned out of control onto neighboring federal land. Normally, that is an infraction covered by laws governing trespassing, and the guilty party is subject to paying for damages caused by the fire – if the neighboring land belongs to an ordinary citizen.
But not when a vindictive federal government is involved.
This is very similar to the prosecution in the Bundy Ranch case who attempted multiple trials to convict ranchers and those who came to their aid against an armed federal army acting tyrannically against them. That case against the Bundys was ultimately dismissed because the prosecution was engaging in crimes against them in order to obtain a guilty verdict, but was the prosecution held accountable? Nope, just quietly demoted, but still engaging in prosecuting federal cases, while innocent men basically lost two years of their lives. Talk about an injustice!
“We didn’t think it could happen,” said Susie Hammond, the family matriarch. She is still trying to hold onto the ranch, upon which four local families other than the Hammonds rely. “We thought we lived in America where you have one trial and you have one sentencing.” She said that federal officials “just keep playing political, legal mind games with people and people’s lives.”
Now it’s up to President Trump to deliver justice to the Hammonds – something the federal government has long denied them.
Pendley is correct and it’s a shame that these men have suffered so much and their livelihoods and families have been put in danger by an out of control, Constitution usurping federal beast.
However, what one needs to understand is that the federal government not only unconstitutionally claims they own the land, but reports fail to identify why they want these ranchers to fail. They want them to fail because they want the land.
The Hammond ranch, like the Bundy Ranch, is a very rich property. In the Bundy’s case, water rights were at stake. In the Hammond’s case, it was minerals, including Uranium ore.
Pardoning these men would be a major first step at the federal government acknowledging their wrongdoing in the matter.
Duquette said that pardoning the ranchers would be a show of goodwill by the Trump administration.
“It shows they’re getting things done and trying to right the wrongs that were done before,” he said.
Frankly, considering the circumstances and the fact that neither property, animals nor people were injured, neither of the Hammonds should have spent a day in jail, much less being faced with a five-year prison sentence and being labeled as terrorists. If they are guilty of terrorism, then so is the BLM! Just take a look at what they did!
It’s time President Trump do the right thing. This is not a hard decision.
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