(NaturalNews) Militia and patriot organizations are preparing to deliver a “redress of government” document to state and county officials in Oregon, asking that they intervene to prevent a father and son from having to return to federal prison on “terrorist” arson charges, sources have confided to Natural News.
Meanwhile, as noted in a blog post at the site Freedom Outpost, a “Level 2 alert” has gone out from supporters of Dwight Hammond, 73, and his son Steven Hammond, 46, to unnamed militia groups, instructing them to be ready to “deploy” in an effort “to defend” them “against tyrannical Feds who label them terrorists.”
The redress stems from a 2012 conviction of both men, who were charged under a federal antiterrorism statute, with committing arson on federal land overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. Both were charged in connection with a 2001 fire known as the Hardie-Hammond Fire, in the Steen Mountain Cooperative Management and Protection Area, which burned some 138 acres of public land, according to various published reports.
In addition, reports said, a court convicted Steven Hammond of arson in 2006 for starting a back fire, after a lightning storm started several fires near the Hammond property; Steven Hammond said he started the back fires in an attempt to save the ranch’s winter feed.
Other reports said that both fires were started on the Hammond’s property, as well as on lands which the Hammonds had leased for grazing rights – but none of that swayed federal prosecutors or the court, both of which maintained that it was unlawful to purposely burn federal land, even if it was being leased.
Double jeopardy? When the Hammonds were sentenced, their attorneys argued that the federal five-year mandatory sentence was unconstitutional under provisions of the Eighth Amendment; the trial court agreed, and imposed sentences that were well below the five-year mandatory. Dwight Hammond was sentenced to three months in prison; Steven Hammond was sentenced to one year; and both served their terms.
However, prosecutors in the case, upset by what they considered a breach of law, appealed the sentences to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which agreed, and thus vacated the original sentences, while ordering a lower court to re-sentence the pair. In October, Chief U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken imposed the mandatory five years – minus time already served – on both men.
“Congress sought to ensure that anyone who maliciously damages United States’ property by fire will serve at least five years in prison,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Billy Williams at the time. “These sentences are intended to be long enough to deter those like the Hammonds who disregard the law and place fire fighters and others in jeopardy.”
‘I don’t think that’s what Congress intended’ Friends of the family note that the Hammonds and the BLM in particular have been…