A federal judge on Friday greatly reduced the potential prison time Ammon and Ryan Bundy and six co-defendants face over the 41-day Oregon wildlife refuge occupation.
Judge Anna Brown wrote that the third count of the indictment — carrying of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence — is dismissed, because the crime with which they are charged, conspiracy, is not necessarily a crime of violence.
The Oregonian’s website reports that the third count carried mandatory minimum of five years in prison and a maximum of life, which may not be served concurrently but must be served consecutively with any other sentence.
Coincidentally, the Hammond father and son ranchers, whose sentences for letting controlled burns get out of hand and burn public land prompted the protest, are now serving minimum mandatory five-year sentences under a misapplied anti-terrorism law passed after the Oklahoma City federal building bombing.
Judge Brown concluded that Section 372 of the criminal code, which prohibits “conspir[ing] to prevent, by force, intimidation, or threat, any person from accepting or holding any office, trust, or place of confidence under the United States, or from discharging any duties thereof” is not necessarily a crime of violence.
Trial is scheduled for September.
Ammon and Ryan Bundy and their father Cliven also face charges, long with 16 others, from the standoff with federal agents trying to round-up the family’s cattle two years ago. That trial is scheduled for February.