The U.S. Government’s case against Dwight and Stephen Hammond amounts to a prosecutorial slapp suit. A slapp suit in civil matters is a “strategic lawsuit intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition”. 
A prosecutorial slapp suit would be one in which a defendant is grossly over-charged with the criminal charges brought against them being malicious, abusive, vindictive and strategic. Such is the case with the prosecutor’s case against the Hammonds. It was guaranteed to bankrupt the Hammond’s and to force them to sell their property – including water rights to the government.
The government’s initial filings included 6,000 pages with nineteen charges over a 24-year time span. On May 16, 2012 in a Superseding Indictment, the grand jury reduced the time span to seven years, decreased the objects of conspiracy by four, cut the manner and means by three and deleted ten overt acts (CR 104). Ultimately, the senior Dwight Hammond, age 70 when the charges were brought was found guilty of one count and his son Stephen Hammond was found guilty of two counts for which the Judge gave the following sentences.
Dwight Hammond was found guilty of Count 2 of the Indictment, sentenced to 3 months in prison with a 3-year term of supervised release subject to the standard conditions and the following special conditions:
The defendant shall cooperate in the collection of DNA as directed by probation.
The defendant shall disclose all assets and liabilities to probation and not transfer, sell, give away, or otherwise convey any asset with a fair market value in excess of $500 without approval of probation. The defendant shall not make application for any loan or credit arrangement or lease without approval of probation. And the defendant shall authorize release of – to probation a financial information by appropriate means.
No fine is ordered.
Stephen Hammond was found guilty of Count 2 and Count 5 of the Indictment. Because of prior history with the law, he was sentenced to one year and one day on Count 2 and one year and one day on Count 5 with sentences to be served concurrently with three years of supervised release subject to the standard conditions and the following special conditions:
The defendant shall cooperate in the collection of DNA.
The defendant shall disclose all assets and liabilities to probation and not transfer or convey any asset with a fair market value in excess of $500 without approval of probation. The defendant shall not make application for a loan or credit arrangement or enter into a lease agreement without approval of probation. The defendant shall authorize release to probation a financial information by appropriate means.
No fine is ordered.
A source who shall remain anonymous revealed that Mr. Hammond was forced to sign over to the government a Right of First Refusal on the sale of his ranch as a condition of the probation.
Why would the government do that? It’s a no-brainer when you see the location of the Hammond Ranch relative to the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. And one other fact that didn’t and couldn’t have come out in the Hammond trial is that the BLM – Andrew Resource / Steens Area Field Manager, Rhonda Karges is married to Chad Karges  who is the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Manager. And it’s no secret to anybody that the EPA, BLM and other agencies and departments of government are working overtime to lock up and prohibit use of ALL natural resources in this country to comply with United Nations Agenda 21 and the UN Biodiversity Treaty even though the senate never ratified it.
The charges and penalties requested by the prosecution were based on the heft of the original indictment that went back 24 years with 19 charges. As stated above, the Superseding Indictment of the Grand Jury reduced the charges to a time span of seven years and 9 charges. Ultimately Dwight Hammond was convicted of Count 2 and Stephen was convicted of Count 2 and 5. The prosecutor’s request for penalties put the case within the legal sphere of terrorism which is the reason for the mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison.
The following are the specifics of Counts 2 and 5 from the Superseding Indictment:
For the sake of context, it must be noted that fire is used in the normal course of land management as specifically mentioned by the prosecutors on Page 2, Count 1 of the Superseding Indictment. Even though it’s only mentioned in Count 1, the statement serves as a universal description on the use of fire in land management:
“During all times relevant to this count, the Burns District BLM had a prescribed burn program which used fire for habitat improvement, ecosystem restoration and maintenance, and reduction of hazardous fuels. Private owners’ participation in the program was voluntary. Many private landowners had prescribed burn plan agreements with the Burns District BLM to cooperatively control the conversion of shrub and grasslands to juniper woodland on private and public lands in the Steens Mountain area.”
The violation of law and the penalties requested on Counts 2 and 5 of the Superseding Indictment are Title 18, Sections 2 and 844(f)(1). The following is the text of those statutes:
As you can see above, penalties under 18 U.S.C. 844(f)(1) fall into the category of terrorism as defined in Public Law 104-132, Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. This legislation increased the penalties for international and domestic terrorism. The application of it was for groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF). The ELF was an international eco-terrorist group from Great Britain. In 2011, the Rolling Stone published a reprint of a 2006 article titled The Rise and Fall of the Eco-Radical Underground about the ELF and their activities which did include the use of explosive materials with the intent to “hasten the collapse of the ‘ecocidal’ empire as he and his fellow members of the ELF like to call America”.
At the sentencing hearing, The Hon. Michael R. Hogan, Presiding Judge said that to impose the mandatory minimum sentence for the Counts that the Hammonds were convicted of “would shock the conscience” and he refused to do it:
Following sentencing, the prosecutors then appealed the sentence to the Ninth District Court claiming that the Judge illegally reduced the sentence. The Ninth District Court ruled in their favor and though the Hammonds completed the original sentence, they will be returned to prison to complete the mandatory minimum sentence after the holidays.
The circumstances and the charges the Hammonds were convicted of didn’t rise to the level of eco-terrorism. What this case demonstrates is the flaw in mandatory minimum sentencing and how prosecutors can exploit that flaw for malicious, vindictive and strategic purposes which in this case is to obtain the land that the Hammonds own.
The Hammonds admitted to using fire as a tool in the course of their business of ranching. Repeating from above, fire is used for habitat improvement, ecosystem restoration and maintenance, and reduction of hazardous fuels. In essence, the Hammonds were convicted of being Ranchers and there is only one word that adequately describes this case against them. The word is travesty. If ever there was a case that could be called a travesty of justice, this one is it.
 Slapp Suit, A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_lawsuit_against_public_participation
 United States Opposition to Defendant’s Fourth Motion in LIMINE… http://www.thetechnocratictyranny.com/PDFS/Doc_119_Motion.pdf
 American Land Rights Association, documents pertaining to the Hammond Case,