• October 27, 2021

Hammond Ranch Update: Surprise, Surprise! The Sheriff Sides With The Feds

Things are heating up at the Hammond ranch, in Oregon, as the date approaches for Dwight and Stephen Hammond to be taken back into custody to serve another sentence for a crime of which they were convicted as terrorists, under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1966. After pleas for the citizenry to appeal to the local sheriff, and they did in droves, the outlook doesn’t look as if it’s leaning sympathetic toward protecting the Hammond’s constitutional rights.

Last week Ammon Bundy released this video in addition to another plea for citizens to contact Oregon state legislators.

Please contact these representatives to help the Hammonds right now, we cannot wait.
State Representative Cliff Bentz (R)
900 Court St NE H-475
Salem, OR 97310
Phone: (503) 986-1460
State Senator Ted Ferrioli (R)
900 Court St NE S-323
Salem, OR 97310
Phone: (503) 986-1730
Thank you,
Ammon Bundy
Here’s the letter sent, from the Sheriff’s office, to citizens advocating for the Hammonds:

November 20, 2015

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I have received a huge response from American citizens regarding the resentencing of Dwight and Steven Hammond.  I am aware, as I have read it for myself, that there is a significant amount of misinformation being posted on internet sites.

The fact remains:

  1. The case was investigated by the sheriff at that time.
  2. The case was brought before a grand jury and the defendants were indicted in accordance with the law.
  3. The defendants were tried in federal court and found guilty by a jury of their peers.
  4. The charges of conviction carry a 60 month federal minimum sentence by law.  A law which was passed by congress and signed into law by the President.
  5. The defendant’s attorneys requested the 60 month minimum sentence for the crimes of conviction and the defendants accepted the sentence.
  6. The presiding judge violated the law and handed down a sentence of less than the mandatory minimum required by law.
  7. The prosecution filed an appeal to the decision which went to the 9th Circuit Court, where the court found that the 60 month minimum sentence had to be upheld.
  8. The defendants appealed to the Supreme Court, which elected not to hear the case.
  9. The defendants were resentenced to fulfill the remainder of the 60 month minimum sentence required by law.

It is my belief that the Hammonds are decent hard working citizens of Harney County and deserve my attention in this matter.  I have read and will continue to read and look into any injustice found in this matter.

Please read the attached sentence order.  It is lengthy, but will clear up some of the misinformation being found on the internet.

Thank you for your concern and willingness to help in this matter.  If you have any further questions for me please feel free to respond and I will do my best to get back to you in a timely manner.  I have received many phone calls and emails in this matter and will respond to each one as best I can.

David M Ward

Harney County Sheriff

 Also, in an email from Ammon Bundy, he alludes to the idea that the sheriff is feeding info to the FBI regarding just who is contacting his office on the Hammond’s behalf.
Dear Friends,
After a wonderful Thanksgiving Day with family and friends our hearts are full of gratitude and joy.
We hope yesterday found you with family, friends, fun and food. We love this time of year.
We wish we had better news for you on such a fun time of the year.

However, Sheriff David Ward (the Hammonds sheriff) has unfortunately fallen to the influences of federal agents and has taken an adverse position against the Hammonds.

When you have an officer of the law that does not understand the constitution and allows fear to drive him, the people are negatively affected.

We would also like to warn anyone that has contacted the Sheriff; he has been feeding your information to the FBI. 

We have reached out to him several times over the last week to try to understand his motives, but he refuses to take our calls or answer our messages.

His assistant has informed us that he is no longer accepting messages from the Hammond supporters.

For those who have received a letter from the Sheriff and would like to be able to understand it better please go to the link below prepared by a leader in Arizona. It is a clear explanation of the Sheriff’s lack of understanding.

Please be sure to understand that this battle is about a small powerful group of people using force to make all people live the way the want them to.
This is the age-old battle of Force vs. Agency. If what is happening to the Hammonds is allowed, it will set a standard of what these powerful people will do to all of us.
We must restore the Hammonds rights and make sure these types of thing do not happen in the future. Our children depend upon on us to act.
And here’s a response to the sheriff’s letter:
Thanks everyone for the quick support you have offered for the Hammonds. The Sheriff has received an overwhelming # of emails already in support of the Hammonds. Many of you emailed the Sheriff recently have received an email clarifying which side of the fence the sheriff is on. It appears he currently stands with the BLM and their unconstitutional jurisdiction of the land.

            The Burns county sheriff’s email has brought up many questions in regard to what this fight is all about raising many questions about the Hammonds. From emails we have received from Ammon, it appeared this issue was clear cut and all about Rancher’s vs BLM, personal property rights vs agenda 21 & the sustainability movement, states rights vs federal control etc. Then we received this transcript of the court proceedings and it appears to some now that it is not that clear cut. Well, I’ve read and reread the court proceeding transcript and it is clear to me that Ammon’s emails were not misleading.

            First let’s acknowledge what was said in the court by the prosecutor that greatly effected the jury’s decision and influenced many who just read the court proceedings. The concerning accusations brought against the Hammond’s in this transcript that most had not heard about include poaching, starting a fire to burn the evidence, and endangering firefighters in the process. That sounds pretty bad. Who would stand behind such hardened criminals? No one. We definitely don’t support such actions and would not want to be found supporting those who did such things right? Of course not.
The interesting thing though, they were not convicted of any of these accusations. They were accused of these actions but never convicted for lack of evidence. The evidence simply wasn’t there. The Game and Fish found no evidence and anyone knows a grass fire could not burn a carcass. It may singe the hair off but it wouldn’t even cook the meat medium well.
            After reading these accusations and the court proceedings, it is perfectly clear that the Hammond’s were not convicted for anything other than what Ammon Bundy said they were convicted for – two fires – one permitted prescribed burn that got out of control onto BLM land before the Hammonds put it out, and for starting a back burn without BLM permission to save their own property from multiple naturally started lighting range fires.
            The federal judge said he would not be putting the Hammonds back in jail for 5 years if he had the discretion to put them in for less time. He said his hands are tied because of the law. I don’t believe a judge would say that if he thought the Hammond’s were really poachers and started a fire to burn the evidence. Clearly it was never proven in the mind of the judge. Even the prosecutor made it clear multiple times that he was not pushing for more than the minimum sentence for the Hammonds. I don’t believe that would be the case if the prosecutor himself really believed the Hammond’s were poachers as well as arsons and guilty of attempting to cover the evidence ect. with an even worse crime of arson. That doesn’t even make sense.
“Now, some folks don’t know it, but the U.S.
Probation Office is recommending the 70-month sentence,
which is longer than I am recommending of 60, for Steven
Hammond, and the probation office here, who looked at this
case, is asking for Dwight Hammond to serve three months
longer than 60 months, which I am not agreeing to.”
“60 months is enough. It’s the minimum that’s
mandated by a statute that Congress passed, the President
signed, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is obligated to
“Again, we are a system of laws, system of laws,
and if we are given discretion, we will use it, but in this
instance I don’t feel I have that discretion.”
Both the Judge and the prosecutor on the other hand both admit the Hammonds are good people but feel they have to follow the law regardless.
“Now, back in October 2012, I stood up and said
good things about these men because you can tell by all the
folks in the courtroom, they have done wonderful things for
their community. They are hard-working people. 4-H. They
have done — they have donated some of their beef. They
have had Oregon State folks come out. For most people in
Burns, they are spoken of highly, and I have spent a lot of
time in Burns. I also spent a lot of time above and on the
So what is this all about then? After reading the transcript and the judges summary it is clear that it is about exactly what Ammon said this was about. The unjust and unconstitutional federal law and BLM jurisdiction which the prosecutor even admits has done more harm than good to the land.
“Now, the Hammonds, especially
Steven, thinks that burning this land, and they even offered
the exhibit that shows that the BLM burns it to get rid of
invasive species. That’s true. We didn’t dispute that.
And there is a lot of folks that want to argue BLM
did a bad job burning that property when they are trying to
make it better, and they can argue that all they like.
Maybe they are right.”
“Now, they may think BLM mismanaged them, and I
know Steven Hammond said that repeatedly, and they are
entitled to their opinion. But they are not entitled to
burn the property. It’s not theirs. It’s the public’s.
And that’s why they are here today.
These are very telling statements by the judge that clarify his anti personal property beliefs and strong belief in government ownership of all land.
“Now, there are decisions. The congress and the
legislature and the initiative process make a lot of
decisions and we are obligated to follow those. But when I
think back of what really this is all about is we hold all
these resources in trust for the next people to come after
us, and are we leaving them with as many opportunities as we
have all had?”
“So you don’t celebrate by dropping matches
anywhere, if that’s what happened. You don’t just drop
matches everywhere. You know that. But more importantly,
you have respect when you have the privilege, the privilege
of using public lands to make a livelihood.”
“But you don’t have the right to make decisions on
public lands when it’s not yours and there are processes and
laws in place that give you an opportunity to engage the
governmental bodies to preserve that land.
Now, I don’t subscribe to the theory that we just
get to own everything. We hold it as people in public trust
for the next generations.”
This is what the judge intends for the Hammonds learn from their long prison sentence. Become subjects and recognize your place in the new order of things.
“So I suspect you are going to make contributions
when you go back into the community that perhaps you will be
able to talk to people about making better choices and to be
respectful and to build relationships with those
organizations, those governmental agencies, those
individuals who are trying their best to do what’s expected,
and that is be great stewards for the next generation of the
What is clear is the Courts make it nearly impossible for the Hammonds to keep the land so it will fall into the hands of the BLM forever.
“Upon release from confinement from the
institution, you will serve a three-year term of supervised
release. I am willing to take a look at that down the road.
Those terms and conditions are general and they
are set by probation.
The special conditions are as follows:
You shall disclose all assets and liabilities to
your probation officer and shall not transfer, give away, or
otherwise convey any asset with a fair market value in
excess of $500 without approval of the probation officer.
You shall not make application for loans, enter
into any credit arrangement, or enter into a residential or
business lease agreement without approval of your probation
You shall authorize to the U.S. Probation Office
any and all financial information by executing a release of
financial information form or by any other appropriate means
as directed by your probation officer.”
Next, you shall have no contact with the Bureau of
Land Management employees in person, by telephone, through
correspondence or a third party or enter land owned by the
Bureau of Land Management without prior approval of your
probation officer. If you have a need, you certainly need
to make contact, and that will be, I am sure, afforded you
for the purpose requested.
Next, you are to abide by a civil
settlement with the Bureau of Land Management; in this case,
specifically payment of $400,000, the balance of which will
be paid in full — is that –December of 2015.”
I hope this helps to clarify what the judge and prosecutor believe this is all about.
We know what many of these ranchers are standing for – The Constitution and preserving freedom and liberty and the opportunities that we want to preserve for future generations. Keep up the good fight.
2 Timothy 4:7
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Alma 43:45
45 Nevertheless, the Nephites were inspired by a better cause, for they were not fighting for monarchy nor power but they were fighting for their homes and their liberties, their wives and their children, and their all, yea, for their rites of worship and their church.
Rusdon Ray
GER Drafting Services
2243 E. Claxton
Gilbert, AZ 85297
(480)988-2472 Office

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