Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marine put in psych ward for Facebook posts gets legal help

The attorney for the former Marine who was forced into a psychiatric ward for anti-government Facebook postings filed a petition Wednesday claiming law enforcement did not uphold Virginia laws for involuntary detentions.

“The law requires that within four hours of detaining someone, you have to have a magistrate write a petition for a temporary restraining order,” said John Whitehead, an attorney with the Rutherford Institute, the Virginia-based civil rights firm that is defending the ex-Marine. “They didn’t do that. That didn’t happen.”

Brandon Raub, 26, was taken into custody at his Richmond, Va., home Thursday, Aug. 16, by FBI and Secret Service agents and Chesterfield County Police. He has yet to be charged with a crime; he was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police vehicle and transported to the police department. From there, he was admitted to the John Randolph Medical Facility in Hopewell for a psychiatric evaluation.

His crime?

Officially, nothing.

“They did not charge him with anything,” Whitehead said.

The Facebook postings — the biggest clue so far to the reasons for his detention — were part of a private chat, inaccessible without an invitation, and included anti-government sentiments and warnings of revolution.

“This was a closed group, not public, not a posting on a wall,” said Cathleen Thomas, Raub’s mother, in a Wednesday morning interview. “They had to hack in to it to see it, then they took the comments out of context. But agree with him or not, agree with his comments or not, the bigger question is, why is the government checking on postings in the first place? The point is, he has a right to free speech.”

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