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.