Back From South
Dakota- Part 1
From Los Angeles to
(Edited by Ron Branson)
Welcome everyone! After arduous driving
and footwork collecting signatures in South Dakota, we arrived back
home August 23rd, at 7 p.m. We left well ahead of the August 8th start
of the Sturgis event, (Thursday, July 28th), so we could take it easy and travel
the scenic route through the Grand Tetons
and Yellowstone. Words can hardly describe the wondrous majestic beauty we
beheld on the entire trip. We were traveling through God's rock garden, and some
areas were magnificently created with cathedral-looking spires rising up to
abbey-appearing "structures" at the very pinnacle of different mountain tops.
From the distance, some of them looked like they had a group of
columns across the front of them. It was awesome!
We saw all kinds of animals-- a bear with
cubs, a bull moose, deer, mountain goats, roaming cows through the woods
(unrestricted), buffalo, and a remarkable bunch of donkeys, at least
25. One of the larger donkeys was standing smack in the middle of the road
and was perfectly content to stay there. He wouldn't move, despite calls,
whistles, and clapping hands. Finally, about a nine-year-old boy caught the
donkey's attention by holding out his hand as if he had food to feed him, and
that made the donkey finally amble off the road.
As we were traveling through Jackson,
Wyoming, we caught sight of a large sign that read "Law Offices of Jerry Spence"
on the front of a building that looked like a two-story hotel. We immediately
found a place to park about a block away and walked back. It wasn't quite 8 a.m.
and we didn't expect anyone would be there. However, we got our material
including the JNJ "History in the Making" featuring the article by Henry Jake
Morgan "One Glaring Deficiency" adapted to the South Dakota effort, to slip
under the door of his offices. Just in case someone was there, we knocked on the
glass door, and sure enough, a lady did come to the door. She opened it and we
told her about J.A.I.L. and handed her our material and asked her to be sure and
give one set to Jerry. She said she would and thanked us. So now Jerry Spence
and some of his staff know about our South Dakota J.A.I.L. campaign.
Another remarkable event happened in
Wyoming. As we were driving through the small town of Greybull which had a
typical speed limit of 30 mph which Ron always followed each time we passed
through a town (Ron has been meticulous in obeying all traffic rules throughout
the trip), we reached the outskirts and saw the sign up ahead posting a
65 speed limit.
We noted a sheriff's patrol car coming in
the opposite direction and then Ron said "That patrol car made a u-turn and is
coming behind us with his lights on." We wondered whom he was after, since we
saw no other cars in front of us, but Ron pulled over when seeing the lights
behind us. Then we were shocked to see the patrol unit pull in behind US! We
couldn't imagine why. When the sheriff deputy came to the window, he said "Do
you know why I stopped you?" Ron told him he had not a clue. The
officer said that Ron was leaving a 30 mph zone doing 42,
which meant that Ron had increased his speed 12 mph from observing the
posted 65 mph sign until he reached the sign. The point was
that the 30 mph zone lasts until actually PASSING the 65
speed limit sign despite being totally out of town and on the open
highway. We were the only car on the road,
besides the patrol car.
On the good side, we were fortunate that he was a friendly traffic officer. He
had a nice smile, twinkling blue eyes, and was chewing gum. He asked where we
were headed, and asked for Ron's DL and proof of insurance. I asked if he wanted
the registration, and he said "If you have it." He took the papers back to the
patrol car and we waited for what seemed to be an eternity. Ron and I committed
the entire incident to prayer and I prayed "Thy Will be done. We will follow
whatever You direct us through this officer, because we know that You have
complete control of this, and every, situation. We know that whatever happens is
for our good and we will acknowledge that and be grateful."
Finally the officer returned and said "I'm
going to just give you a warning." (Let me say, Ron never increased his speed
until AFTER the new sign from then on, but some people behind him were not
pleased. For instance, a Frito Lay Potato Chip delivery truck pulled around him
and accelerated to get in front of him in the space between viewing the new
posted speed and actually passing the sign.) Ron thanked the officer and
took the opportunity of explaining in detail about JAIL4Judges, handing him a
card telling him why we were making the trip. The officer said "Sounds like good
stuff. I like it." He said he would check out our website and he gave us
his email address. So we will be in touch with him. Ron and I are
convinced that the Lord wanted this officer to learn about J.A.I.L. and
used this incident for that very purpose.
As we arrived at the southern end of South
Dakota we stopped and I took a few pictures of Ron in his J.A.I.L.
shirt, hat, and regalia, pointing up to the sign "Welcome to South
Dakota." We thought that would be good on the South Dakota website with the
caption something like, "Winning America Back, Starting With South Dakota."
Then onward to Rapid City, S.D.
Unfortunately we didn't have the South Dakota petitions as yet, and could not begin collecting signatures. We
met several people there who whole-heartedly agree that J.A.I.L. is needed
there. One store proprietor told us he could give us an earful about the
corruption he knew of personally in R.C., but he's renting his store from the
City and can't say anything. We gave him the J.A.I.L. card and he'll look us up.
We later met a lovely couple in R.C. who is on our mailing list. They allowed us
to stay two nights at a large home they just purchased and were fixing up right
across the street from their home. The master bedroom was huge! After sleeping
on the front seats tilted back in our van for a week, it was a real treat to
stretch out on a real bed, and king-sized at that. And we had a private
bathroom to boot. We thank this nice family for accommodating us in such royal
On the second day in R.C.,
we called Bill Stegmeier (the S.D. JIC) from
Rapid City to let him know of our anticipated arrival in Deadwood. He told
us he would meet us there with all the South Dakota material-- petitions,
pens, clipboards, cards, plus a stock of "South Dakota Judicial Accountability
Team" T-shirts to give to people pledging to collect at least 20 signatures. We
arrived in Deadwood and took a few hours to relax and settle in before Bill
got there. He drove clear across the state (about 400 miles). He treated us
to a great prime rib dinner and dropped off the materials we needed to
proceed. We felt so bad that he would have to turn around and drive all the
way back another 400 miles that same evening --that's 800 miles in one day. I
don't know how he got any sleep. He didn't have anyone with him to help
Deadwood is about 11 miles west of
Sturgis where we stayed for nine nights, thanks to Bill for providing
the lodging. We were there for the
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. We donned the
South Dakota T-shirts and went to Sturgis to start collecting signatures.
Ron spent each day in Sturgis collecting signatures.
However, I developed some sort of tendonitis up the front of my right foot
into the shin area on my first day at Sturgis and
couldn't walk any distance without extreme pain. My spirit was willing but my
flesh was weak. I had to stay at our lodging quarters for a day and thought
it had improved enough to try again, but found that as soon as I started
walking more than a few blocks, it flared up again. Ron kept going
everyday, averaging several hours a day. He got physically tired and his
heels and ankles got sore, but he got out there each day with renewed strength,
determined to collect as many signatures as he could. I tried to convince him to
take a day off to recuperate, but he wouldn't hear of it. One day after trotting
in the scorching heat, he decided to go later in the day and collect signatures
during the evening. Just avoiding the heat of the day helped a great deal.
While there, Ron got a call from a couple
who was there to help collect signatures in Sturgis. They are from Brookings on
the eastern border of S.D. and traveled across the state to help.
Ironically they were staying in the same area of Deadwood that we were-- just
blocks away. They treated us to breakfast there before heading out for
Sturgis. They helped Ron for three or four days gathering signatures until
they had to leave on a call back to work on an emergency fill-in. I felt bad
that I couldn't be with them all the time, but they understood my
Thereafter, Ron went door to door in the Sturgis community. He would walk
up one side of several blocks, and back the other side, while I drove the van to
the end of each area. He would then coordinate with me to go to the next set of
blocks, and on it would go for hours! Ron said that almost everyone in Sturgis
and Deadwood are registered voters-- probably 90% of the ones he met. At one
door upon which Ron knocked, was the residence of John Eggers, the 31-year,
now retired sheriff of the community, who showed Ron the front page of
the current issue of the Black Hills Press Newspaper with his picture on
it, in which he was being presented a plaque in his honor. The caption
read that the mayor has proclaimed August 9th as Sheriff John Eggers
Day. Sheriff Eggers was very bold in his opinion about the South Dakota
Judiciary, and allowed me to quote him as saying, "I am well familiar
with the judiciary in this State of South Dakota, and this J.A.I.L.
Initiative is very much needed here." Sheriff Eggers also said, and I
quote, "No one is above the law," referring to the judges of South Dakota.
Having been in law enforcement all his life, he is definitely an authority on
the subject, and he has given up permission to place his picture on our
website and to openly quote him. Yes, what a story to pick up on by chance, but
I think this goes beyond chance. Let the other supposed authorities go up
against him and try to refute his years of experience in dealing with the
courts. Ron gave the article to Bill and he plans to put it on the South
At another door on which Ron knocked in
Deadwood was an elder gentlemen who unhesitatingly took the clipboard and signed
it saying he was not afraid to sign, stating, "I know two judges who belong in
prison, and not on the bench." To clarify, Ron asked to be sure he was referring
to judges in South Dakota, to which he emphatically responded, "I am talking
about judges right here in Deadwood!"
More than just the signatures, it was a
wonderful opportunity of informing people of S.D. about South Dakota J.A.I.L.
--whether they signed or not. If no one was home, a card was left in the door.
Ron is very encouraged, especially after going
door-to-door in Sturgis. He estimates the approval rate for this ballot measure
to be above 80%, and that the votes for passage of South Dakota J.A.I.L. are
there. In approximately a year and a half from now we believe that America will
start to feel the freedom effects of J.A.I.L.
To be continued in Part