A day ago, ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond were prisoners at the minimum-security federal prison on Terminal Island in San Pedro, serving five-year sentences for arson.
But on Wednesday, following a Tuesday pardon by President Trump, the father-and-son pair got to fly home in style to Burns, Ore., on an oil company’s private jet, riding alongside the company’s founder, Forrest Lucas.
The Hammonds, who own a ranch in remote eastern Oregon, had been convicted of arson for setting fires that burned federally owned land. Their five-year mandatory minimum sentence drew criticism from ranchers’ groups who have been critical of the government’s stewardship of the nation’s expansive federal lands.
The Hammonds’ case captured national attention after an armed group of antigovernment activists protested their prison sentences by seizing the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for 41 days in 2016. Public-lands advocates have criticized Trump’s pardon as a tacit approval of the occupation.
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