On the basis that there was zero reason to detain a retired Marine and commit him to a medical facility for psychiatric evaluation, a Virginia judge has demanded that Brandon Raub be released from custody immediately.
Raub, 26, had his home visited one week earlier by FBI, Secret Service and local law enforcement agents who expressed concern over a series of Facebook posts he had made on his public social networking profile. They detained him without charge and admitted him to a local hospital for evaluation.
"The petition is so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy," reads a signed statement by Circuit Judge W. Allan Sharrett, which was provided to the Richmond Times-Dispatch Thursday afternoon.
Judge Sharrett adds that he was shocked to find that a magistrate did not include any grounds at all for holding Raub, who was placed in custody for a full week without any charges being pressed.
Earlier in the week, attorneys representing Raub from the Rutherford Institute attacked the mishandling of the case by suggesting that the entire ordeal was a war on their client’s constitutional rights.
“This is not how justice in America is supposed to work — with Americans being arrested for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights, forced to undergo psychological evaluations, detained against their will and isolated from their family, friends and attorneys. This is a scary new chapter in our history,” Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead says in a statement released on Tuesday this week. “Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders.”
Days before he was detained, Raub had made a series of posts that reportedly worried the authorities. His most recent postings included critique of the investigation of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and other messages, such as, “The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it” and “Sharpen up my axe; I'm here to sever heads.
“The bottom line is his freedom of speech has been violated,” Raub's mother, Cathleen Thomas, told the Associated Press after her son was detained. On Thursday, she told the Times-Dispatch that the entire ordeal has been “phenomenal” and that others could be considered because, “This could have happened to anyone.”
"This has never been about anything but freedom of speech…. We're going to continue to post on Facebook,” Thomas continued, adding that she considered her son a “true patriot.”
Raub served in both Iraq and Afghanistan and says he had been considering reenlisting before last week’s events.