Outpost of Freedom
Jon Ritzheimer was scheduled to report to prison on February 16, 2018 to serve his year and a day, less time served and good time off. That would probably amount to about 8 months. He had time to prepare things for his family, to make their life easier while he was in prison. He also had work to do to make sure that he got on the ballot in his run to replace the retiring representative, Trent Franks. Jon’s goal was to be fully prepared to go to prison in February
However, a single event and a Facebook post have undermined his planned preparations. Though he had been abiding by all of the rules imposed on him, a simple trip within the same county of where he was approved to go has undermined all of his efforts and goodness.
Once again, Facebook was the downfall of a good man. There is no doubt that his Facebook page is monitored, and once the monitors saw the picture (above), they probably gleefully contacted Judge Anna Brown and reported that Jon was, finally, in violation of his release conditions.
Judge Brown then sent the following chastisement and order to the respective attorneys. I have not spoken to Payne about this, though you will see that he has lost a major part of his freedom, as well. Considering the restrictions imposed on their freedoms, it would seem that they should get credit for time served, or at worst, half credit for time served, as a consequence of this absolute denial of freedom of movement and communication, and consequences for violation thereof.
I have received and reviewed the messages from Ms. Hay and Ms. Wood. Thank you for your prompt responses.
Although I do not intend to issue warrants based on the information discussed in our correspondence today, I am concerned that Defendants have taken advantage of this Court’s release accommodations in their favor. So that this Court’s release conditions are perfectly clear going forward, I intend to take the action outlined below. If any of you wish to be heard as to these decisions, please notify Mr. Rifer, and a hearing will be scheduled early next week. In the meantime, please notify your clients that, in addition to all existing conditions, they are now subject to the following:
With respect to Mr. Payne, I agreed that he could be released from custody on the Oregon hold only in order to be able to confer meaningfully with his co-defendants and their counsel in the ongoing preparation of their mutual defense in Nevada. I certainly did not intend to authorize his travel more than 80 miles from the Las Vegas Courthouse to the Bundy Ranch for social purposes. Please inform Mr. Payne that, effective immediately and for purposes of his temporary release from custody on the Oregon case, the following specific conditions apply:
- When his approved travel to Montana concludes, he is to return directly to the approved residence in Las Vegas where he will be on “home detention” — meaning, he is to remain at that residence unless he is going directly to or from court (including any pretrial office); the offices of any defense counsel; or church, medical, or treatment services. He is not to return to the Bundy Ranch or to engage in social activities with his co-defendants.
- If it is determined by Chief Judge Navarro that the Nevada case against Mr. Payne will be dismissed with prejudice, Mr. Payne is to surrender immediately to the U.S. Marshal in Nevada so that a hearing can be conducted within 48 hours of that decision to determine whether he will be detained or released pending his sentencing in Oregon.
- If it is determined by Chief Judge Navarro that the Nevada proceedings against Mr. Payne will continue, he may remain on release from the Oregon hold subject to all previous conditions and the “home detention” described in Paragraph 1, above.
With respect to Mr. Ritzheimer, I have seen some of his email and text correspondence to his Arizona release officer regarding the request to travel to an “Air B'n'B” in Las Vegas for his wedding anniversary. In a text,
Mr. Ritzheimer wrote:
“I will not be going to the Trial or Federal Courthouse to see the Bundy’s [sic] if that’s what you’re thinking. Just wanna to [sic] make that clear. This is a trip for me and my wife’s anniversary.”
It’s clear to me Mr. Ritzheimer was not authorized to travel to the Bundy Ranch. Nor was he authorized to make Facebook posts about the Bundy Ranch visit. Rather than deal with his equivocating explanation in the context of a warrant and hearing to determine whether he violated release conditions, however, I’ve concluded the more reasonable course is to advance his surrender date for his prison sentence to next Friday, 1/5/18. To implement that decision, I’ll enter an order early next week modifying the surrender date and directing him to surrender to the U.S. Marshal in Phoenix by Noon on 1/5/18. Even if a BOP facility has not been designated by then, he will get credit for voluntarily surrendering to the U.S. Marshal as ordered.
Ms. Hay and Ms. Wood, please do the necessary to ensure your clients are aware of the particulars of this message. Appropriate orders will be entered early next week. In the meantime, it will be a violation of the Oregon release conditions for your clients if they again travel to the Bundy Ranch.
This led to the consequences addressed above, and, ultimately, to Jon having to make major changes to his well-laid plans to be prepared to turn himself in on February 16, 2018.
In Jon’s own words:
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Well, it seems an innocent visit to the Bundy Ranch, during my 10 year wedding Anniversary with my wife in Las Vegas, along with some pictures of me smiling and enjoying life with some of my dearest of friends that were posted on Facebook was enough to anger the courts to the point of sending me to prison early. I can see how this all fits in with Gods plan though. I believe the reason for our misery and suffering is because Gods plan for this entire endeavor has been for us to be used to shed light on some major issues within the judicial system. As Ammon Bundy so eloquently put it, “Sun light is the best disinfectant”. So allow me to clarify how this all went down.
I was given permission to go to Las Vegas and celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary with my wife for December 22nd and 23rd. During that time, I was able to link up with one of my dearest of friends, Ryan Payne. Ryan was recently released from jail because the prosecution in the Nevada District was caught red-handed willfully withholding exculpatory evidence. Ryan is one of my Co-Defendants from the Oregon case. There was a no contact provision between us, but that was lifted by Judge Jones on September 20, 2016.
While we were spending time together, it was suggested that we go say hello to Carol Bundy at the Bundy Ranch. The Bundy Ranch is only an hour’s drive away from Las Vegas, so we decided to go say hello to Carol. We had an amazing time and I was so grateful that I finally got to meet Carol Bundy and see the famous Bundy Ranch. We were there for less than 2 hours and then we headed back to drop Ryan and his girlfriend off. Then my wife and I made the long drive back home to Phoenix.
Now let’s back up a bit. I recently submitted a motion asking for my social media restrictions to be lifted because I am running for Congress. I recently made the decision to lay down the sword and pick up the pen. I want to try to work towards a peaceful revolution and put in some actual work towards restoring this Government to the confines of the Constitution, as they were set forth by the Founding Fathers. So I asked for the restriction to be lifted so I could run a successful campaign and replace the dirty, ladder-climbing, politicians who are clawing and foaming at the mouth for the opportunity to act as if they are actually representing the people.
This motion, like many others, had gone unanswered for some time, but they were able to act quickly and swiftly when it came time to telling me I had to go to prison early. I will say that I am grateful that the Judge is at least letting me turn myself in rather than issuing an arrest warrant and causing me to gain points in the BOP (Bureau of Prisons) due to loosing credit for self-surrender. This would then cause me to go to a higher level of security prison, which is not what I want at all. I am also grateful that she is giving me until the 12th of January (Initially, she said I had to report on January 5) due to the major hardship and mental anguish it would have caused my family.
I believe this is just another example of how I was set up for failure from the beginning. When I was initially released, I was told I could not have any contact with Militia. I had to inform my attorney that I violated that order within 10 minutes of being out because I ordered a hamburger from McDonalds and the kid who took my order was surely between the ages of 18 and 45 and was able bodied. For those of you out there scratching your head, please read 10 U.S. Code Section 311. You’ll see what the actual Militia is and who all it encompasses. The bottom line is that the judicial system sucks. It’s beyond oppressive and for no good reason to someone like myself who just wants to accept his punishment, make an honest living, have a few smiles with my friends, and enjoy freedom and liberty with no ill intentions.
I will now be self surrendering on January 12th as a punishment for visiting the Bundy Ranch and for pictures of me smiling, and enjoying life with some of the most honorable and kind hearted people God’s green earth has ever seen.
My wife and daughters will need help during these times, as this is now hitting us like a ton of bricks out of nowhere. We are humbly accepting PayPal donations to PayPal.me/ritzheimer. Thank you all for the continued support. God Bless you all and remember that this, too, shall pass.
Finally, after analyzing my current situation and deciding that I need to utilize my remaining days to prepare my family for my now expedited departure, I have decided to throw in the towel on the race for Congress. I have prayed on this decision and I believe it is just the right thing to do. I hate the fact that the Government is, in a sense, winning yet another battle by suppressing me to the point that I can’t run. But this is just another small battle.
It is not the end of the great war for freedom and liberty. I sincerely thank everyone for their support.
As for me… I hear prison is lovely this time of year. God bless and Godspeed!
/s/ Jon Ritzheimer
I will leave you all with my favorite Samuel Adams quote that I hope resonates with some of you out there:
“If the public are bound to yield obedience to laws to which they cannot give their approbation, they are slaves to those who make such laws and enforce them.”
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So, now we have a sense of justice, as applied when one defies the imposition of constraint on the First and Second Amendments to the Constitution.