On The Front Lines
TRI Exclusive: Marine Brandon Raub Issues First Public Comments Since Being Arrested, Detained in Psych Ward Over Views, Lyrics Posted on Facebook
August 28, 2012
CHESTERFIELD, VA— In his first public remarks since being arrested and detained in a psychiatric ward for posting controversial song lyrics and political views on his Facebook page, Marine veteran Brandon Raub speaks on camera with attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, about the events leading up to his arrest by FBI, Secret Service agents and local police and involuntary civil commitment. Rutherford Institute attorneys secured Raub’s release on Aug. 23 after Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett dismissed the government’s case against Raub on the grounds that its petition for involuntary commitment “is so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.” Since coming to Raub’s defense, The Rutherford Institute has been contacted by military veterans across the country recounting similar incidents. More than 20,000 civil commitments were carried out in Virginia in 2011.
The Rutherford Institute’s interview with Brandon Raub is available here.
“Brandon Raub’s case exposed the seedy underbelly of a governmental system that seems to be targeting Americans—especially military veterans—for expressing their discontent over America’s rapid transition to a police state,” said constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead. “As we are learning, Brandon Raub is not the first veteran to be arrested with no warning, targeted for doing nothing more than speaking out against the government, detained against his will, and isolated from his family, friends and attorneys. My fear is that he will not be the last. Truly, these are the kinds of things that take place in totalitarian societies.”
Brandon Raub, a former Marine who has served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was detained by FBI agents and police officers at his home in Chesterfield County based upon the nature of content posted to his Facebook page in recent months. Like many Facebook users, Raub uses his Facebook page to post song lyrics and air his political opinions, as well as engage in virtual online games with other users. On Thursday, August 16, 2012, police and FBI agents arrived at Raub’s home, asking to speak with him about his Facebook posts. Without providing any explanation, levying any charges against Raub or reading him his rights, law enforcement officials then handcuffed Raub and transported him first to the police headquarters, then to John Randolph Medical Center, where he was held against his will due to alleged concerns that his Facebook posts were “terrorist in nature.” Outraged onlookers filmed the arrest and posted the footage to YouTube.
In a hearing on August 20, government officials again pointed to Raub’s Facebook posts as the sole reason for their concern and for his continued incarceration. Ignoring Raub’s explanations about the fact that the FB posts were being read out of context, a Special Justice sentenced the Marine to up to 30 days’ further confinement in a psychiatric ward and signed a court order for Raub’s involuntary admission to the Veterans Hospital in Salem. In coming to Raub’s defense, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute challenged the actions of Chesterfield County, Va. as procedurally improper, legally unjustified, and in violation of Raub’s First Amendment rights. On August 23, Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett declared the government’s case to be lacking in factual allegations and ordered Raub immediately released.
Anthony Troy and Brian Fowler, attorneys with Troutman Sanders LLP, were instrumental in assisting The Rutherford Institute to secure Raub’s release.
Key Cases: Brandon Raub
Brandon Raub, a former Marine who has served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, was forcibly taken from his home on August 16, 2012, by FBI agents and police in Chesterfield County, Va. and placed in a psychiatric ward against his will. His crime? Posting personal political views and song lyrics to his Facebook page. Outraged onlookers filmed the arrest and posted the footage to YouTube, which has since gone viral, and the public continues to clamor for his release.
Despite this, in a hearing before a special justice on August 20, government officials disregarded Raub’s explanation that the Facebook posts were being interpreted out of context, sentencing him up to 30 days’ further confinement in a VA psych ward where he was forced to undergo psychological evaluations. Brandon was initially being held in John Randolph Medical Center but was moved to the Veterans Hospital in Salem, Va., after Special Justice Walter Douglass Stokes for the General District Court for the City of Hopewell, Va. denied an emergency motion to stop him from being forcibly transferred. The Salem facility is more than three hours away from his family, friends and legal team.
Fortunately, in an unexpected ruling handed down on August 23 by Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett, the government’s case against Brandon Raub was dismissed on the grounds that the petition for Raub’s detainment “is so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.” While The Rutherford Institute was able to help Raub win his freedom, we must ask ourselves why this happened in the first place. This stunning display of government force against an individual expressing his personal views from the privacy of his own home indicates that the First Amendment is hanging by a thread in America. For the most up to date information on Brandon’s case, please click the links below.
August 23, 2012 VICTORY: Circuit Court Orders Brandon Raub Released, Dismisses Case Against Marine Arrested, Detained in Veterans Admin. Psych Ward over Political Views, Song Lyrics Posted on Facebook August 22, 2012 Rutherford Institute Files Notice of Appeal Challenging Arrest & Detention of Marine in Psych Ward for Posting Political Views, Song Lyrics to Facebook August 21, 2012 District Court Refuses to Stop Transfer of Marine Brandon Raub to Salem Psych Ward, 3 Hrs. Away, for Posting Political Views, Song Lyrics to Facebook August 20, 2012 Rutherford Institute Defends Marine Arrested, Incarcerated in Psych Ward & Detained Indefinitely for Posting Political Views, Song Lyrics to Facebook