UPDATE: A circuit court judge has dismissed the government’s case against Brandon Raub and ordered that the Marine veteran, detained over anti-government Facebook posts, be released from a state psychiatric hospital because authorities had no grounds to detain him, Catie Beck of CBS 6 News reports.
“This is a great victory for the First Amendment and the rule of law,” Rutherford Institute president John W. Whitehead said in a press release.
ORIGINAL: Brandon Raub’s attorneys have filed a motion to suspend the August 20 ruling that ordered Raub to be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward.
On August 20 the 26-year-old Marine veteran was committed to a psych ward for up to 30 days after he was detained on August 16 in connection to Facebook posts that are critical of the official story regarding 9/11 and refer to “starting a revolution.”
Raub’s lead attorney, John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, told BI that the August 20 order was “rubber-stamped” and indicative of the corrupt system in Virginia.
“The special justice is very old,” Whitehead said. “He had trouble hearing Brandon. He brought into the courtroom a personal cassette player – we tried to listen to it and you can hardly hear what’s being said. This is the so-called judge – he’s a lawyer, not a real judge – it’s like what you would see in a bad movie.”
Whitehead said that every year in Virginia more than 20,000 people are committed under similar circumstances and “that means a lot of people are disappearing” under the pretext of mental illness.
“I’m friends with the local police; I could call them right now and probably get you committed if you were in Virginia,” Whitehead said. “They can arrive at your door based on somebody’s testimony or your Facebook page and take you away to a mental hospital… There’s a system here that is corrupt. And this guy is caught in it.”
In the motion Raub’s lawyers argue that since the initial orders to detain Raub did not follow the Virginia law that the Chesterfield PD cited, Raub’s initial and continued detention is unlawful.
“If they’re honest, he’ll be out early,” Whitehead said.
Chesterfield police stated that they “took Raub into custody for evaluation in accordance with Virginia State Code § 37.2-808 Emergency custody.”
But according to Va. Code § 37.2-808, a person in emergency custody may only be held for four hours unless a magistrate enters a temporary detention order (TDO) during that time.
Raub’s lawyers argue that since the magistrate entered the order more than eight hours after he was taken into custody, the District Court “lacked any basis (much less clear and convincing evidence) to conclude that Raub (i) has a mental illness, and (ii) that there was a substantial likelihood that, as a result of such mental illness, Raub will, in the near future, cause serious physical harm to others, as Va. Code 37.2-817 specifically requires.”
“The government’s power to involuntarily admit an individual for evaluation of a mental illness is a creation of statute. Because an order providing for such admission deprives a citizen of his liberty, to protect citizens from an overreaching government the Virginia legislature has created a specific, detailed procedure, set forth in Virginia Code § 37.2-800, that must be followed before an individual can be involuntarily admitted. In the present case, that procedure was not followed. As such, the District Court’s August 20, 2012 order is void.”
When asked about the motion directly contradicting the statement made by Chesterfield police, Chesterfield PD public information coordinator Elizabeth Caroon told us “As this is not a criminal matter, we have no further comment.”
Beyond the “fatal procedural deficiencies,” Raub’s lawyers argue that the evaluations of Raub “utterly fail” to provide evidence that Raub is mentally ill and potentially violent, adding that any mention of Raub’s Facebook posts in the orders violates his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Whitehead said that the posts cited as “terrorist in nature” were part of a private Facebook game called Illuminati that Brandon was playing with his brother and sister, which the government spied on.
The motion states that at the very least Raub should be transferred from Salem to John Randolph until the appeal is heard because Raub is from the Richmond area, Salem is 188 miles away from Richmond and Raub’s lawyers need regular face-to-face access to Raub so that Raub can provide information and participate in his own defence.
Whitehead said that Brandon is “very calculated, very intelligent, very lucid” and that Brandon said his social worker is nice and doesn’t ask him much as they “chit-chat and drink coffee.”
In an interview earlier this week, Raub – who served in Iraq and Afghanistan as a sergeant with the 1st Platoon, Charlie Co., 4th Combat Engineer Battalion – said he found the situation “extremely ironic” because he was considering reenlisting in the Marine Corps.
“The best thing they can do now is say ‘We’re not going to charge this guy, we’re going away.’ But we’re not going to let this go away,” Whitehead said.
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