November 3, 2015
Re: Hammond Family Declared as Terrorist and Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison
From: The Bundy Family
To: Aware Citizens & Government Officials
Our hearts and prayers go out to the Hammond family with deep empathy. The magnitude of the injustices dealt to them is hard to comprehend. Their once happy lives have been forever darkened with pains of corruptions. The nature of their sentencing proves once again that justice is currently not found in the federal courts. The Hammonds are a simple ranching family that for generations has cared for the land they live upon. Prescribed burns are a vital process in keeping the land healthy and productive in the area. The BLM also performs prescribed burns and have let it get out of control many times, but never has it cost any federal agent hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and years of life in prison. The Hammonds prescribed a fire that moved to public land, they extinguished the fire themselves. The courts found that the burn increased vegetation for the following years, and had a positive impact on the land. With no authority or justification to prosecute, eleven years after the fire, federal attorneys have obtained judgment that the Hammonds are terrorists and must be punished severely for their actions.
The illegal predatory actions of federal agencies placing themselves as the sole beneficiaries of the land and resources must end or the people will stand in open resistance against it. The collaboration between federal agencies and the federal courts is shameful and will continue to accelerate the peoples demand for justice. The Hammond prosecution, and many offenses like it, solidify that the federal government is no longer an entity that functions for the benefit of the people.
We warn federal agencies, federal judges and all government officials that follow federal oppressive examples that the people are in unrest because of these types of actions. The purpose of government is to protect the unalienable rights of the people, not to take them away. It is the duty of the people to defend their God given rights if government fails to do so or turns to devour them. Good, civil citizens wish only to live in tranquility and peace, but demand freedom while doing so. We call upon you and all civil servants to effectuate the true purpose of government and change your actions as needed by fulfilling your sworn duty to the Constitution and ultimately to the People.
We further warn that the incarceration of the Hammond family will spawn serious civil unrest. We advocate that all charges be dropped and that the Hammond family be allowed to return to the home and life that was so rudely interrupted. The Hammond family has paid enough for this mistake, if any mistake at all. Further punishments to the Hammonds will require restitution upon those who inflict the injustices.
We call upon aware citizens and government officials to promote the protection and freedom of the Hammond family, and by so doing, maintaining the spirit of liberty that this beloved nation is built upon.
The Bundy Family
For more information got to these links:
Hammond Ranch Data & Dispute
This is a story of ranchers Dwight (father) and Steven (son) Hammond of Diamond, Harney County, Oregon. In the year 2001 they set fire on BLM land for which they had grazing permits. They did so to clear underbrush so more grass would grow, making the land more productive for their cattle. Some years later a court did indeed rule that the fire had accomplished that, making the land more valuable for grazing.
Both Hammonds had been previously arrested in 1994 for blocking the BLM from building a fence. The BLM was constructing a fence that would block Hammond cattle from grazing on land the BLM had claimed as a "refuge". But the Hammonds claimed that area as a "historic right of way" that has been in use since 1871. "We have never had a permit," Susan Hammond said. "We have a right to use it." The Hammonds served only two days in jail, their hearing was postponed indefinitely for this offense, and to date has never taken place.
Nevertheless the Hammonds were tried and convicted in 2012 under the "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996" for arson on public land for the 2001 fire and a similar fire in 2006. The statutory minimum sentence was five years. However, Judge Hogan deemed a five year sentence too lengthy per the 8th Amendment(cuel and unusual punishment). Consequently he sentenced the Hammonds to 3 months and one year respectively. The Hammonds did indeed serve that time in jail. Dwight 3 Months and Steven 12 Months.
However, the BLM and the US government are now contesting that sentence as a violation of the Antiterrorism act. Suit has been filed in the District Court of Oregon (Eugene) for the Hammonds to serve the balance of the prescribed minimum sentence. The hearing on 7 Oct 2015 in Eugene, Oregon. was only a sentencing hearing, as the Hammonds have already been found guilty (and served jail time) for the offense. Druing this hearign ther were sentance to the remaining five years in a federal penatary.
In the meanwhile the BLM is refusing to renew the Hammonds' grazing permits, forcing them to find alternative feed for their cattle. In a separate suit, the BLM is also charging the Hammonds $400,000 for alleged costs of fighting fires and damage to the public lands. In the event the Hammonds must sell some or all their private ranch land to meet that monetary demand, the BLM has filed first option to buy the land forcing the Hammonds to sell to them.
The Hammonds agreed in 2013 to pay the $400,000 as their insurance company agreed to help substantially. Dwight & Susan Hammond have moved off their ranch to Burns, Oregon, in anticipation of Dwight going to jail for four more years & nine months. Then his wife Susan will be able to care for herself in town.
Dwight purchased his ranch & grazing rights in 1964. He confirmed to me that his grazing rights predated the establishment of the BLM, by virtue of being established by previous owners of his ranch.
Steven Hammond is reluctant to talk to anyone about the situation in fears of the federal governmetns actions againts him and his young family.
Hammond Family & Individuals Involved
Dwight Hammond (70 yrs old), father to Steve & grandfather to Dusty; arrested for arson
Steve Hammond (43 yrs old), son to Dwight & uncle to Dusty; arrested for arson
Dusty Hammond (24 yrs old), grandson to Dwight; admitted arsonist & witness 2001 Hunting party; (13 yrs old at time of 2001 fire; Evidently he made a plea bargain to testify in 2012 trial.) Ages given in 2012
Rusty Hammond, father to Dusty; accessory to arson, not arrested
Susan H. Hammond (~71 yrs old, wife of Dwight; past member of Harney County Watershed Council)
46851 Hammond Ranch Rd.
Frenchglen, OR 97722
OR 33 / T30S / R31E / Section 5 / NW ¼
Coordinates: 42.872253, -118.586019
Total of 480 acres per Harney County records (Susan Hammond says it's ~ 1000 acres)
Cattle rancher; member of Harney County Chamber of Commerce
The Hammond Ranch is entirely within the Donner Und Blitzen Sub-Basin Watershed, designated by the Harney County Watershed Council, of which Susan Hammond is a past council member. The assessment document gives a history of the land use in the area, on PDF pages 12 - 22, "Historical Land Use".)
BLM Topo; Yellow areas are BLM claimed lands. Red hatched areas are BLM "Conservation Areas", different than ACECs.
Legal Data & Non-Hammond People on the Case:
Case Number is 2:11-CV-823-SU
Sentencing Hearing scheduled on 7 October 2015, 10:30 AM, before Judge Ann Aiken, in Eugene Oregon.
Attorney of record to handle the US side of the case is Chief Judge of the District of Oregon
Neil Evans Judge Ann Aiken
Portland, Oregon 405 E Eighth St, Eugene, Oregon
(503) 727-1053 (541) 431-4100
(Cushman says Evans is not the prosecuting attorney.) firstname.lastname@example.org
Gerri Badden Kendra Matthews, partner (Hammonds' attorney)
US Attorney's Office - District of Oregon (Prosecution) Ransom Blackman LLP
Public Information Officer 1001 SW 5th Ave, Ste 1400, Portland, Oregon 97204
(503) 727-1033 – desk (503) 228-0487
(503) 706-3910 – cell email@example.com
Public Advocate for the Hammonds
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400, Battle Ground, Washington 98604
News Articles in Chronological Order, Oldest First:
Dwight Hammond, 1994
High Country News (very rural western Colorado newspaper, writer lives and writes in Portland, Oregon)
Ranchers Arrested at Wildlife Refuge - 3 October 1994 (This is pre-Internet days)
Dwight and Steve Hammond were arrested 3 August 1994 for obstructing the BLM from constructing a fence to block Hammond cattle from entering a BLM refuge. There was no resistance to the arrest. They served two days in jail and were released without bail. Charges were reduced from criminal to misdemeanor 15 August 1994. A scheduled hearing was postponed indefinitely and never took place. It's unknown whether misdemeanor charges have been dropped. I'm sure the statute of limitations has expired.
Hammond's rights to graze on the refuge at only specific times had been revoked, as he was allowing his cattle to graze at times outside those specified in his permit. Various land rights organizations supported the Hammonds. A rally of 500 ranchers was held in Burns. Then Congressman Bob Smith, of Hammond's district, weighed in on Hammond's behalf with a letter to US Interior Secretary Babbit.
Hammond (assumed by me to be Dwight) allegedly made death threats against refuge managers in 1986, 1988, 1991 and 1994. Per agency spokeswoman, Hammond has never given the required 24 hour notice to graze his cattle on the refuge.
Susan Hammond says the cattle trail is an "historic right of way" in use since 1871. She claims "We never had a permit. We have a right to use it." I'm not sure exactly where this cattle trail is.
Hammond Witness Describes Setting Fire in 2001 17 July 2012
This article explains the trial that took place.
Dwight Hammond's grandson (Dusty Hammond) testified against Dwight and Steven Hammond, 11 years after the fact. The Hammonds, father & son (Dwight & Steven), were on a hunting trip and ended up purposely setting fire on BLM land. Dusty particpated in setting the fire as well. (It's evident to me that the prosecuting attorney threatened Dusty into testifying.)
Dusty Hammond was 13 years old at the time of the event of setting the fire in 2001. Now 24 years old, he admits to jury that on 30 Sept 2001, while on a deer, hunt he set a fire at the instruction of his uncle, Steve. The fire chased him and he ran into a rocky area to escape the fire and it passed him by.
Dusty testified that he never actually saw his uncle Steven actually light a fire, but only saw smoke in his direction. Dusty claimed to remember the day clearly, as he had his own close scrape with the fire.
My (Bill Goode) Thoughts & Comments about Dusty's Testimony
In my conversation with Dwight, he says he bears no ill-will toward his grandson, Dusty, for testifying against him. He feels the government must have forced him somehow to testify. Dwight said not all the testimony was true. Dwight said that everything that Dusty said at the trial could not have happened because there wasn't enough time for all of it to happen as Dusty testified. Dwight & Steven were convicted anyway and were sentenced to 3 months and one year respectively.
I don't have the trial transcript of Dusty's testimony, but based on this news article, it's FULL of holes. I'm flabbergasted that the jury accepted it. The BLM denial document gives additional testimony, but it's obviously prejudiced. What kind of jury would accept this nonsense?
Burns Times Herald
Hammonds convicted in federal court - 27 June 2012
This article explains the verdict from the jury. Sentencing was scheduled for September.
On 22 June 2012 a jury convicted Dwight (70 yrs old) and son Steven Hammond (43 yrs old) of arson on federal lands in 2001. They had originally set out on a deer hunting trip, but ended up setting fires as well. Both Hammonds were originally indicted on 19 counts in June 2010, but superseding indictment reduced the number to 9 counts.
Dwight & Steve Hammond had intentionally set fire on BLM land they had grazing permits for. The intention was to clear brush so more grass could grow to support their cattle. They did tell the BLM they
Western Livestock Journal
Additional jail time for ranchers’ range fires? - 10 July 2015
In 2012 Dwight and Steven Hammond were tried, convicted, sentenced and served time (3 months and one year respectively) in jail for setting fires in 2001 and 2006. They were tried and convicted of terrorist acts under the "Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act.
The 2001 fire was set as part of a plan the Hammonds had with the BLM. They called the BLM to see if burning was permitted that day. They were told there was no ban on burning that day and the Hammonds told the BLM they would be burning that day on their BLM grazing allotment. They ended up burning about 139 acres.
In 2006 lightening started a fire on BLM land adjacent to the Hammond's private land. Steven Hammond set a backfire to stop the spread of the fire started by lightening.
The Antiterrorism Act calls for a minimum sentence of 5 years. The judge in 2012 decided that per the 8th Amendment that 5 years was too stiff a punishment. So he used his discreation to give the Hammonds lighter sentences. The BLM is seeking to have each of the Hammonds serve out the balance of those five years.
A re-sentencing hearing is set for late October 2015. (The actual date of the hearing is 7 October 2015 at 10:30 AM at the US District Court in Eugene, Oregon. This has been confirmed to me by Gerri Badden and Chuck Cushman.)
The BLM has canceled the Hammonds's grazing permits on four grazing allotments. (I've read the denial in a BLM document. I'm not sure if it covers ALL the allotments given to the Hammonds. It's another question to ask Dwight.)
The Hammonds must pay $400,000 to the BLM for the cost of fighting the fires. If the Hammonds must sell part or all of their ranch to meet this payment, the BLM has first option to buy the ranch. (In my conversation with Dwight he said he could cover the balance of the settlement, after the insurance company pays its share, by selling cattle. Then I suppose he could rebuild his herd.)
Questions to Hammonds I still have.
1) What happened to misdemeanor charges of 15 August 1994?
2) Where is the cattle trail that Susan Hammond says has been in use since 1871?
3) Why did it take 11 years for federal government to prosecute for the 2001 fire? Is there no statute of limitations?
4) Did the BLM cancel ALL of the Hammonds' grazing allotments? The BLM document states the Hammond, Mud Creek, Hardie Summer & Hammond FFR allotments were canceled.
BLM is obviously intent on acquiring the Hammond Ranch.
I am able to see all the BLM land on a map supplied by the BLM. This shows how the BLM has designs on the Hammond Ranch. Notice that ALL the BLM "Conservation Areas" in Oregon are around the Hammond Ranch.
Yellow areas are BLM claimed lands. Red hatched areas are BLM "Conservation Areas", different than ACECs. Black hatched areas are ACECs and BLM monuments. There are vastly many more ACECs than shown on this map, principally in western Oregon. Each of the ACECs in western Oregon is small, but I could tell the number was vast because there were so many labels. I had to leave the labels off, else there were so many they would cover the rest of the map.
Dwight and Chuck explained that the BLM has had a vendetta against the Hammonds since a water rights dispute about 1993. The Hammonds won that dispute and the BLM has resented the Hammonds since.