Two years after a group of right-wing militants occupied Malheur wildlife refuge, President Trump has granted their wish, to pardon Dwight and Steven Hammond.
The Hammonds, who were serving five-year prison sentences after setting fire to government owned land, were lauded as “devoted family men” by the White House. “Justice is overdue for Dwight and Steven Hammond,” The White House said in a July 10 statement. “[The Hammonds] are entirely deserving of these Grants of Executive Clemency.”
The White House also cited the judge in that case, who commented at the Hammonds’ sentencing that “imposing the mandatory minimum, five-year prison sentence would ‘shock the conscience’ and be ‘grossly disproportionate to the severity’ of their conduct.”
The White House also accused the Obama administration of filing “an overzealous appeal that resulted in the Hammonds being sentenced to five years in prison.”
The Hammond’s arrest is what caused Ammon and Ryan Bundy to storm Malheur Wildlife Refuge in an occupation that lasted over a month and ended with one militant being killed while resisting arrest.
“The true reason the Hammonds have suffered has not been corrected. It must be corrected,” Ammon Bundy told the Oregonian.
Among other supporters of the president’s decision include Oregon U.S. Rep. Greg Walden.
“Today is a win for justice and an acknowledgement of our unique way of life in the high desert, rural West,” Walden said in a statement. “I applaud President Trump for thoroughly reviewing the facts of this case, rightly determining the Hammonds were treated unfairly and taking action to correct this injustice.”
However, Amanda Marshall, who was Oregon’s U.S. attorney when the case occurred, told the Oregonian she was disturbed.
“It means their conviction doesn’t exist. I find that incredibly troubling,” Marshall said. “I think it’s a slap in the face to the people in Pendleton who served on that jury and a slap in the face to the Constitution.”