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11 July 2018, 11:12 | Devin Moran
Trump pardons Oregon ranchers at center of 40-day standoff | TheHill
OR ranchers who repeatedly clashed with federal officers over the use of public lands, and whose imprisonment motivated fellow rancher Ammon Bundy to lead an armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Preserve in 2016.
The imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond prompted the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in OR in 2016, led by two sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.
It added: "Dwight Hammond is now 76 years old and has served approximately three years in prison".
The second imprisonment caused a local backlash.
The dozens of armed people who occupied the refuge near the Hammond ranch for 41 days said the Hammonds were victims of federal overreach.
But after the Hammonds were released a Barack Obama-appointed U.S. Attorney named Amanda Marshall appealed the release and the two men were subsequently forced to return to prison when an appeals court ruled Hogan could not reduce the sentences.
The Malheur 7, as they came to be known, were later acquitted of the government's charges by a jury.
"Trump's pardon abandons human decency to signal encouragement of violence and extremism among his base".
Protesters who rallied to support the Hammonds included Ammon Bundy, who was part of the self-styled militia that broke into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016, beginning a 41-day standoff with the USA government over how it handles rangelands throughout the Western states.
In a statement Tuesday announcing the pardon, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emphasized uncertainties in the case and the prison terms and fines the Hammonds had already paid.
The armed occupiers changed the refuge's name to the Harney County Resource Center, reflecting their belief that the federal government has only a very limited right to own property within a state's borders.
During the standoff at the refuge, FBI Agent W. Joseph Astarita allegedly shot rancher Robert "LaVoy" Finicum when officers arrested leaders of the occupation.
The Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group, issued this statement.
The pardon power has its most compelling use when correcting a government injustice.
"Pardoning the Hammonds sends a risky message to America's park rangers, wildland firefighters, law enforcement officers, and public lands managers". The Hammonds could have faced less than a year in prison under a plea offer they declined, she said.
He has said he's considering thousands of other cases -famous and not.
News media outlets in the state - including the Oregonian - have published editorials advocating for a presidential pardon, seeking clemency for the two men.
The White House statement said that at "the Hammonds" original sentencing, the judge noted that they are respected in the community and that imposing the mandatory minimum, 5-year prison sentence would "shock the conscience" and be "grossly disproportionate to the severity' of their conduct".
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