A mental health screener is being accused of labeling a veteran “delusional” and “paranoid” and ordering him into a mental health hold because of his political statements.
The accusation comes in a case brought by a Marine who was taken into custody by law enforcement after the screener for Chesterfield County, Virginia, said he believed the military man might be a danger, even though the two never had met and never had even talked on the telephone.
The Marine, Brandon Raub, is represented by the Rutherford Institute.
As WND reported, Raub was approached by law enforcement officers from several agencies at his home about his Facebook postings. One officer consulted with a psychotherapist who never talked with Raub. As a result of the evaluation, the officers took Raub into custody.
The officers had contacted Raub mostly because of song lyrics he had posted on social media sites expressing distrust of the federal government and calling for the jailing of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
The officers opted for a “mental health evaluation” detention after both local and federal authorities said there had been no crime committed by Raub for which he could be arrested.
As WND reported, Raub filed the First Amendment lawsuit after a judge eventually dismissed the case against him, saying the officers’ concerns were “so devoid of any factual allegations that it could not be reasonably expected to give rise to a case or controversy.”
At that time, another mental health professional concluded the first evaluator who advised the police officers violated professional standards.
The Rutherford Institute wants an appeals court to reinstate the lawsuit against the adviser. Its attorneys argue Raub’s “seizure and detention were the result of a mental health screener’s dislike of Raub’s ‘unpatriotic’ views on federal government misconduct, thereby violating the ex-Marine’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech.”
John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said that as “various free speech cases working their way through the courts right now make clear, the government, a master in the art of intrusion, surveillance and criminalizing harmless activities, is continuing to clamp down on First Amendment activity on the web and in social media under the various guises of fighting terrorism, discouraging cyberbullying, and combating violence.”
“For the 1.31 billion individuals who use Facebook and the 255 million who tweet their personal and political views on Twitter,” he said,” these cases will determine where the government can draw the line when it comes to expressive speech that is protected and permissible versus speech that could be interpreted as connoting a criminal intent.”
On Aug. 16, 2012, Chesterfield police, Secret Service and FBI agents arrived at Raub’s home, asking to speak with him about his Facebook posts. Like many Facebook users, Raub, who has served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, used his Facebook page to post song lyrics and air his political opinions. 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.
In a hearing, government officials pointed to Raub’s Facebook posts as the reason for his incarceration. A Special Justice subsequently ordered that Raub be held up to 30 more days for psychological evaluation and treatment. In coming to Raub’s aid, Rutherford Institute attorneys challenged the government’s actions as a violation of Raub’s First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett agreed, throwing the case out. Raub then sued Michael Campbell, who had advised the police officers.
In its court submission, the Rutherford Institute contended Campbell acted far beyond the allowable limits.
“Campbell knew that Raub was not mentally ill,” the court filing said. “Yet, Campbell lied by withholding from the magistrate the critical information from Raub’s mother … and by telling the magistrate, for example, that Raub was ‘delusional’ and ‘paranoid.'”
His mother had provided information that Raub’s behavior had not changed in any way that would suggest a danger existed, the document states.
The document also cited the expert report of Dr. Catherine Martin, an experienced psychologist “who reviewed Campbell’s evaluation – and the facts on which he supposedly relied – and condemned his actions in exceedingly strong terms.”
“She did not suggest that this case is a ‘gray area” where reasonable professionals might differ, nor did she simply say that she ‘disagreed’ with Campbell. … She explained that, with respect to both the initial detention of Raub and the later procurement of a temporary detention order, there was a ‘lack of evidence of mental illness’ and that Campbell’s actions were a ‘violation of professional standards.’
“Based on this evidence, a jury might conclude that Campbell was well-meaning but incompetent, or it could conclude that this senior clinician knew exactly what he was doing and deliberately distorted his report in order to mislead the magistrate into issuing the TDO. Even on the cold pages of Campbell’s deposition transcript, Campbell’s animosity toward Raub because of his negative views toward the United States government is almost palpable,” the filing states.
“In the brief filed with this court, Campbell again repeats his views that Raub’s political views constitute mental illness. … This alone in enough to make Campbell a menace to Raub’s liberty,” it argues.
The filing said Campbell’s explanations are “exaggerated and slanted,” and the appeals court should order full discovery and a trial.