Oregon Ranchers at Center of Armed Occupation Report to Prison
By Everton Bailey Jr.
The two Oregon ranchers at the center of a controversial resentencing decision that has led militants to occupy the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge headquarters reported Monday to federal prison in California.
Dwight Hammond Jr., 73, and his son Steven, 46, surrendered at the Terminal Island Federal Correctional Institution in San Pedro, Calif., said Monica Devore, a prison spokeswoman. They arrived at 1:37 p.m., according to Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward.
It's the second time that the two will serve federal time for setting fires on land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
In 2012, they were convicted of arson for setting fires in 2001 and 2006 on land where they had grazing rights for their cattle business. Dwight Hammond was sentenced to serve three months in prison and Steven Hammond to one year.
Arson on federal land carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, according to the U.S. District Attorney's Office, but the Hammonds successfully argued during their sentencing that the mandatory minimum was unconstitutional.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later reversed the decision, and a federal judge in October sentenced them both to five years in prison with credit for time they already served.
Dwight Hammond now faces nearly five years in prison and his son faces up to four. Attorneys for both men announced Monday that they plan to seek clemency from President Barack Obama.
(c)2016 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)