Trump pardons OR cattle ranchers in land dispute

President Trump pardons Oregon ranchers who inspired takeover of federal refuge

She noted that Dwight Hammond is 76 and has served about three years in prison and that Steven Hammond is 49 and has served about four years. The takeover was the latest flare-up in a decades-old conflict over federal control of millions of acres of public land in the Western United States. He also said that the Hammonds' five-year prison sentence was part of an "overzealous" prosecution by Obama administration officials, while calling the Hammonds "devoted family men" and "respected contributors to their local communities".

President Donald Trump on Tuesday pardoned an OR rancher and his son who were jailed for arson attacks on federal land, and whose convictions triggered an armed stand-off at a wildlife refuge in 2016. Following their re-sentencing, their supporters began an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon.

The pardons are Trump's latest show of wielding his presidential power to grant clemency, which critics say intends to dramatize his own complaints of being the victim of a "witch hunt" by U.S. prosecutors.

The Oregon Farm Bureau also released a statement on the pardons, thanking everyone who "worked to end the injustice done to Steven and Dwight Hammond". She has urged the president to pardon Alice Marie Johnson, who is serving a life sentence without parole for a nonviolent drug offense.

But critics say the president could be ignoring valid claims for clemency as he works outside the typical pardon process, focusing on cases brought to his attention by friends, famous people and conservative media pundits.

"The Hammonds are multi-generation cattle ranchers in OR imprisoned in connection with a fire that leaked onto a small portion of neighboring public grazing land".

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Dwight Hammond, 73, and Steven Hammond, 46, said they lit the fires in 2001 and 2006 to reduce the growth of invasive plants and protect their property from wildfires.

The elder Hammond has served nearly three years of his sentence, while his son has been incarcerated for four years.

The Hammonds were convicted of crimes that require a mandatory minimum jail sentence of five years in prison under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

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