You write something on Facebook that someone in the government doesn’t like. The result? You’re in handcuffs and taken to detention in a mental institution.
No charges, no rights, no freedom.
Not in America, you say?
But that’s almost exactly the scenario that is being defended by a federal judge, who now has dismissed a complaint filed over a veteran’s treatment.
A federal court dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Rutherford Institute on behalf of Brandon Raub, a decorated Marine. The nonprofit legal group said in a statement Monday that Raub “was arrested by a swarm of FBI, Secret Service agents and local police and forcibly detained in a psychiatric ward for a week because of controversial song lyrics and political views posted on his Facebook page.”
As WND reported, Raub filed the lawsuit after his detention by police and others based on an opinion from a counselor who had never met him but believed he might be a danger.
The officers had confronted Raub after he expressed criticism of the U.S. government on a social networking page.
They arrested Raub and kept him in custody for an evaluation based on the long-distance opinion from Michael Campbell, a psychotherapist hired by the local county.
But a judge ruled the concerns raised by the officers were “so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.”
Raub then sued the officers for taking him into custody.
But the federal court now has said any concerns over the government suppressing speech were “far-fetched” and dismissed the lawsuit.
A decision on whether or not to appeal hasn’t been made yet.
“What may sound far-fetched to the courts is a grim reality to Americans who are daily being targeted for daring to exercise their constitutional rights to speak their minds, worship as they please, criticize the government, defend themselves and their families against over-reaching government surveillance and heavy-handed police tactics,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
“Ultimately, Brandon Raub’s case tests our tolerance for free speech and those dissidents who keep the First Amendment relevant, because if we cannot proclaim our feelings about the government, no matter how controversial – on our clothing or to passersby, or to the users of the worldwide web – then the First Amendment really has become an exercise in futility.”
Raub was detained Aug. 16, 2012, by Chesterfield police, Secret Service and FBI. The veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan was accused of being “mentally ill.”
Shortly after he posted criticisms on Facebook, officers arrived at his home.
“Without providing any explanation, levying any charges against Raub or reading him his rights, law-enforcement officials handcuffed Raub and transported him to police headquarters, then to John Randolph Medical Center, where he was held against his will,” Rutherford said.
“In a hearing on Aug. 20, government officials pointed to Raub’s Facebook posts as the reason for his incarceration. While Raub stated that the Facebook posts were being read out of context, a special justice ordered Raub be held up to 30 more days for psychological evaluation and treatment.”
Just three days later, however, Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharratt ordered Raub released, stating the prosecution was “so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.”
The lawsuit on behalf of the Marine was filed shortly afterward.