Should Trump have pardoned OR ranchers? Take poll

Should Trump have pardoned OR ranchers? Take poll

They were convicted by an OR jury in 2012, but the judge who oversaw their case agreed with the Hammonds that the mandatory five-year sentences for arson on federal land was overly punitive, and the two served short sentences instead.

Their arson sentences stoked the debate over federal management of public lands in the West and their pardons are sure to do the same.

President Trump on Tuesday pardoned the father and son from OR whose imprisonment for setting fires on federal land sparked a 41-day long takeover of a wildlife refuge in the state.

The Hammonds, meanwhile, were convicted of a "very serious crime" that shouldn't be brushed aside, he said.

These are the sixth and seventh pardons President Trump has issued.

"The Hammonds were serial arsonists who stole from U.S. taxpayers for years", former federal prosecutor Dwight Holton told KGW when he heard the news. They changed the name of the refuge to Harney County Resource Center, reflecting their belief that the federal government has only a limited right to own property within a state.

While the Hammonds were regarded by land-rights activists as heroes, and victims of the federal government, federal prosecutors painted sinister portraits of them at their trial.

The Hammonds distanced themselves from the occupiers and didn't endorse the action.

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The Hammonds were being held at a federal detention center south of Los Angeles. As a result, the judge imposed significantly lesser sentences.

Dwight Hammond has served approximately three years in prison, and his son Steven has served four years, according to the White House. However, that was overturned by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ordered that the Hammonds be resentenced "in compliance with the law".

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said an "overzealous appeal" of the Hammonds's original sentences during the Obama administration, which sent them back to prison, was "unjust".

"The Hammonds are devoted family men, respected contributors to their local community and have widespread support from their neighbors, local law enforcement and farmers and ranchers across the West", the White House said in a statement.

The two men were initially sentenced to less than the legal minimum five-year prison sentence by a judge who thought the minimum too harsh and later released the two, Dwight Hammond after three months and Steven Hammond after a year.

Ammon and Ryan Bundy, two sons of Cliven Bundy, and five other defendants were acquitted in 2016 by a federal jury in Portland on charges stemming from the takeover.

The Hammonds said they started a fire on their property in 2001 to protect it from wildfires and reduce the growth of invasive plants, but that the fire got out of hand, CNN affiliate KTVZ reported.

"Pardoning the Hammonds sends a risky message to America's park rangers, wildland firefighters, law enforcement officers, and public lands managers", Rokala said in a statement.

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