Hammond Family Official Statement – July 10, 2018
Dwight and Steven Hammond have been Pardoned by President Trump.
Please take the time to read and share the Hammond Family’s Official Statement:
For Immediate Release
Hammond Family Attorney
Statement from Hammond Family On President Trump’s Pardon of Dwight and Steven Hammond
Tuesday July 10, 2018–Diamond, OR.
Today, President Trump issued an Executive Grant of Clemency, which is a full pardon, to Dwight and Steven Hammond. Our family is grateful to the president and all who worked to make this possible, and to bring this about.
From long before our family’s legal challenges, through the trial in 2012, the re-sentencing and return to federal prison in 2016, and the last several years while Dwight and Steven were in federal prison, Dwight and Steven and our family have done all we can do to demonstrate faith in our country and in principles of decency, fairness and justice. We have been a cattle ranching family dedicated to basic principles, and a basic life. With Dwight and Steven returning home we will continue on our path, continue ranching and continue believing in America.
The original judge who sentenced Dwight and Steven, openly stated that the laws under which the prosecution took place, specifically the mandatory minimum sentences that were required – were unjust and shock the conscience. Yet, prosecutors appealed his ruling, and today President Trump accurately described that appeal as “an overzealous appeal.” We agree that it was overzealous and share the opinion that there is no place in our courts or anywhere else in the administration of our federal government for overzealousness, and the kind of animus that hasbeen directed at our family by federal officers for years.
Again, we express gratitude for the support we’ve received from our local community, for all those who wrote letters of support, for those who worked behind the scenes, and for those who have stood by our family through these hard times. While we recognize that our path forward will still be difficult, like it is with virtually all ranching families, we are hopeful that this action by President Trump today, will also help signal the need for a more measured and just approach by federal agents, federal officers and federal prosecutors – in all that they do.
During this whole ordeal there has been a lot of false information in the media. Our family has already paid $400,000 related to the civil damages alleged by the government in this matter, in addition to the combine 7 years Dwight and Steven have spent in prison.
We are hopeful that respected media outlets will use professional discretion and judgment before repeating false and misleading stories about the history of this legal ordeal. All of us have a duty to stand up for core American principles. Today, the President of the United States has blessed our family by doing so.
As Susie said earlier this morning, “We’ve been waiting a long time” but today’s decision by the President, “is wonderful.” We are very anxiously looking forward to seeing
Dwight and Steven home.
* * *
Press Conference with Hammond Family
July 10, 2018
President Trump, please pardon the Hammonds
July 7, 2018
Please help us in sending a message of support to President Trump on behalf of Dwight and Steven Hammond.
We are asking everyone to contact media outlets and to participate in a social outlet blitz. The pardon is currently in the office of the President. He has recently spoken with Congressman Greg Walden about their case.
What is most important to know is that Dwight and Steven Hammond never should have been tried under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.
The media blitz is planned to start this weekend and follow through to the next week. You can help show your support by contacting the media and by participating in our Twitter Storm and Facebook blasts.
To Participate in our Social Media Blitz:
Link to Twitter Tweets: http://protecttheharvest.com/free-hammonds-twitter-storm/
Link to Facebook Post to share: https://www.facebook.com/ProtectTheHarvest/photos/a.179760862130894.40913.119216091518705/1703547899752175/?type=3&theater
Information to Contact News Outlets
The phone number for CNN HQ in Atlanta is 404-827-1500.
You can reach Sean Hannity at email@example.com and
• America’s Newsroom w/ Bill and Martha can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
• Email Cavuto on Business at email@example.com
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org for Fox & Friends.
SEND ALL PRESS RELEASES TO:
GREG WALDEN, CONGRESSMAN, OREGON
Please flood Congressman Walden’s social outlets with messages of support for the Hammonds:
Congressman Greg Walden Speaks on Behalf of the Hammonds in an Interview with Fox News
June 29th, 2018
Petition to pardon Steven and Dwight Hammond
May 20, 2018
IMPORTANT NEWS REGARDING DWIGHT AND STEVEN HAMMOND: The pardon for Dwight and Steven Hammond is in President Trump’s office. It is critical that we IMMEDIATELY gather as many signatures as possible to show support of their pardon. Please follow the link and sign the petition and then confirm your signature via email.
Follow this link to sign the White House Petition to pardon the Hammonds: URL: https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/pardon-dwight-and-steven-hammond
The Hammond case is viewed by many in the West, and indeed across the nation, as a manifest miscarriage of justice akin to double jeopardy. As long as Dwight and Steven Hammond remain in jail for what is obviously a gross miscarriage of justice, this matter remains a blight on the federal regulatory agencies and the criminal justice system.
Rural communities of the West are greatly appreciative of the efforts of the Trump administration to restore the economies of these communities.
We respectfully ask President Trump to pardon Dwight and Steven Hammond .
Appeal to Trump Administration to Commute the Sentence of Dwight and Steve Hammond
January 6, 2018
For decades agencies of the Department of Interior, namely the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), have deployed their administrative powers to punitively regulate and maliciously prosecute the Hammond family of Oregon in a thinly veiled attempt to drive them off their ranch, their historic grazing allotments and vested water rights.
In August of 1994, the BLM and USFWS falsely arrested Dwight Hammond for protecting their legally owned water rights. While the Hammonds prevailed in state court proving their vested water right claims against claims made by the government they elected not to counter-sue the BLM and USFWS for damages and false arrest.
For 20 years, the Hammonds fought to be able to trail cattle on historic stock driveways through USFWS land using historical records to establish their right to trail their cattle. During that time, government records document repeated efforts by the USFWS and BLM to prevent the Hammonds from using their historic rights. Between 1994 to 2006, the Hammonds were arbitrarily stripped of three BLM grazing permits and one Malheur National Wildlife Refuge grazing permit, gutting the economic viability of their ranching operation. The grazing permits were attached to the Hammond’s statutorily protected vested stockwater rights and grazing preferences.
In the present case, in 2001, with BLM permission, Steve Hammond started a prescribed burn on their private land that accidentally spilled onto 137 acres of adjoining federal land. The BLM never cited the Hammonds for that fire.
In 2006, during a violent thunderstorm, lightning struck federal land near the Hammond’s home, barns and stack yards of winter feed. The Hammonds started an emergency backfire on their private land to protect their home and buildings but which burned one acre of adjoining federal land before it could be contained. The BLM was notified of the burned acre of land. The backfire not only saved the Hammond’s home and barns but ultimately their grazing lands and potentially protecting thousands of acres of federal land from the ravages of the wind-driven wildfire.
The BLM pursued criminal charges for the fire against Dwight and Steve in state court. District Attorney Tim Colahan reviewed the case and dismissed all charges against the Hammonds.
In 2010, before the statute of limitations ran out on the the 2001 fire, the BLM brought the Hammonds into federal court, indicting them on 9 charges relating to both fires. Rather than charging Dwight and Steve under the BLM’s own land-use statutes, prosecutors instead maliciously charged them as domestic “terrorists” under the Antiterrorism Act of 1996. This time the BLM succeeded in obtaining a conviction against Dwight Hammond, Jr., now 78, and Steven D. Hammond, 50. However, the government did offer to drop all charges if the Hammonds would simply sign over two-thirds of their ranch to the federal government.
Significantly, the Interior Department avoided bringing charges under their own statutes which specifically provide an exception for crimes attaching to fires started by ranchers who own grazing allotments in certain circumstances: “This section shall not apply in the case of a fire set by an allottee in the reasonable exercise of his property rights in the allotment,” 18 U.S.C. § 1855.
Federal District Court Judge Michael Hogan stated at sentencing, “I will impose a sentence that I believe is defensible under the law, but also one that is defensible to my conscience.” Hogan specifically found, “It would be cruel and unusual punishment for this crime to give them the mandatory minimum of five years.” Steven was sentenced to one year; Dwight, 90 days, which they served. He also sentenced both Hammonds to three years of post-prison supervision and required them to surrender their firearms. The judge also allowed the men to stagger their sentences in order to keep operating their ranch.
Tragically, council for the Hammonds failed to raise critical defenses in pleadings, and pressured the Hammonds to take a midnight plea deal to a partial verdict. The Hammonds understood the plea to mean that the case was over once and for all. They did not realize that in signing the agreement they had waived all their rights to appeal but that the federal government’s right of appeal was retained. Once the ink was dry on the plea agreement the government prepared an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In a separate but related civil case, the Hammonds were fined $400,000. The Hammonds signed this agreement under duress, giving the BLM the first right-of-refusal should the Hammonds be forced to sell their ranch.
In 2015, the DOJ and DOI appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Court ordered the Hammonds to be re-sentenced for the full five-year term beginning January 4, 2016. Dwight and Steve are currently incarcerated in federal prison in Southern California.
We, the undersigned, strongly advocate for the rule of law. We believe that impositions of arbitrary and capricious rules and regulations singling out one rancher is inconsistent with the rule of law. The government clearly engaged in selective criminal and civil prosecutions of the Hammonds as terrorists for accidental fires when there is ample evidence the BLM and USFWS had for decades been attempting to drive the Hammonds out of business and off the land as they had with numerous other ranchers in the ever expanding Mahler Wildlife Refuge. The punitive double imprisonment of the Hammonds is especially troubling in light of multiple documented cases of Oregon BLM employees starting controlled burns or backfires which “accidentally” spread to burn thousands of acres of both federal and private land and structures. Those employees remain unpunished and property owners uncompensated for lost property.
For the rule of law to mean anything in this country it must be applied equally to everyone—not selectively to private citizens for ulterior motives. Federal employees receive immunity for the very same act for which the Hammonds were charged criminally and sent to prison in a manner even the trial judge found to be egregious. Even more troubling is the long history in the Hammond case, and others, of federal administrative and prosecutorial powers being weaponized in what appears to be a concerted effort by the BLM, aided by the Department of Justice, to take property without compensation and extort exorbitant fines from law abiding ranchers. While government abuse of power is not uncommon, it is uncommon for a 78-year old man and his son, both of whom have exemplary records, to be sent to prison as domestic terrorists for an accidental fire.
We respectfully request the Trump administration to review the pattern of persecution, and selective and malicious prosecution of Dwight and Steve Hammond. We respectfully request that the Inspector Generals of the DOJ and DOI, or an unbiased third party, review the pattern of malicious prosecution, fraud, and corruption which taints this prosecution, giving rise to the appearance of a sanctioned federal persecution for the purpose of obtaining private property without just compensation—in direct contravention of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.
The Hammond case is viewed by many in the West, and indeed across the nation, as a manifest miscarriage of justice akin to double jeopardy. The Hammonds are highly regarded in their rural community of Burns Oregon. The beleaguered western ranching industry has sustained years of political, regulatory and prosecutorial attacks by officials within the DOI, USDA and DOJ during previous administrations. Ranching has either been eliminated or drastically reduced from multiple grazing allotments across the West without compensation to ranchers for their vested water rights or privately-owned range improvements.
Rural communities of the West are greatly appreciative of the efforts of the Trump administration to restore the economies of these communities. However, as long as Dwight and Steve Hammond remain in jail for what is obviously a gross miscarriage of justice, this matter remains a blight on the federal regulatory agencies and the criminal justice system. The current administration is afforded a rare opportunity in the Hammond case to reverse a clear miscarriage of justice.
Thank you for your consideration of this very important issue.