At the request of Brandon Raub, attorneys for The Rutherford Institute are preparing to file a civil lawsuit against government officials who were involved in the arrest and detention of the 26-year-old Virginia resident, who was arrested by a swarm of FBI, Secret Service agents and local police on Aug. 16, 2012, and forcibly detained in a psychiatric ward from Aug. 16-Aug. 23 for posting controversial song lyrics and political views on his private Facebook page.
In challenging the government’s actions as unlawful and an egregious abuse of power, Institute attorneys hope to shed light on and put a stop to what appears to be a growing problem in terms of a governmental system seemingly targeting Americans—especially military veterans—for expressing their discontent about the state of affairs in America. Since coming to Raub’s defense, The Rutherford Institute has been contacted by military veterans across the country recounting similar incidents. (More than 20,000 civil commitments were carried out in 2011 in Virginia alone.) In announcing their intention to file a civil suit against government officials, Rutherford Institute attorneys plan to take issue with the manner in which Virginia’s civil commitment statutes are being used to silence individuals engaged in lawfully exercising their free speech rights. Under these laws, a person may only be involuntarily committed upon clear and convincing evidence that he or she has a mental illness, that there is substantial likelihood that the person will cause serious physical harm to himself or others in the near future, and that there is evidence of recent, actual behavior of causing, attempting, or threatening harm to others. Anthony Troy and Brian Fowler with Troutman Sanders LLP of Richmond, Va., will be acting as affiliate attorneys for The Rutherford Institute in preparation of the civil lawsuit.