Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Thursday, May 31, 2018
Editorial - Ordering the Hammonds to serve five years in prison unfair
We are hearing renewed rumblings that action in the clemency cases of Dwight and Steven Hammond is imminent.
President Trump should commute the sentences of the father and son and allow them to return to their Oregon ranch.
in Oregon’s Harney County, the Hammonds have a long history of disputes
with the Bureau of Land Management over grazing allotments. Dwight
Hammond was convicted of one count related to a fire that burned 139
acres of BLM land in 2006. Steven Hammond was convicted of one count
related to the 2006 fire, and a separate count related to a fire in
Hammonds received a fair trial and were found guilty. Many believe they
had just cause to start the fires and deserved no punishment even if
they had technically broken the law. The jury found otherwise, and the
original trial court handed down fair, and lenient, sentences.
addition to lengthy probation, Dwight Hammond received six months in
prison, his son one year. The original prison sentences were served.
the government appealed those sentences because the judge ignored the
minimum mandatory five-year sentence prescribed by the federal arson
statute. The appeals court overturned the original sentence and the
trial court ordered the Hammonds to report to a federal prison in
California to serve out the remainder of new five-year sentences.
case, mostly unnoticed in urban America, drew a lot of attention in the
western ranching community where they received a lot of positive
support. And some that was less than helpful.
...The original judge in the Hammonds’ case
found a mandatory five-year sentence overly punitive given the
circumstances of their crimes.
So do we.
Ordering the Hammonds to serve the five-year mandatory sentence, though unquestionably legal under statute, was an injustice.
The Hammonds have been in prison too long. The president should commute their sentences to time served and send them home.
Sly Stallone worked to get former heavyweight champion Jack Johnson pardoned, and Trump just pardoned conservative author Dinesh D'Souza after a visit from Kim Kardashian on prison reform. If that is what it takes, who will advocate for the Hammonds? How bout Tom Selleck, Robert Duvall, Sam Elliot or Tommy Lee Jones?
Or maybe Keifer Sutherland
Could he get in done in 24 hours?
And what is the lone Republican in the Oregon congressional delegation, Greg Walden, doing on behalf of the Hammonds?