CHESTERFIELD, Va. (Aug. 22, 2012) – By now, you have likely heard about Brandon Raub, the Marine veteran in Chesterfield, Va. involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for evaluation due to posts he made on Facebook.
FBI and Secret Service agents, along with Chesterfield police, reportedly questioned Raub last week. Police then took him into custody and transported him to Randolph Medical Center in Hopewell. Police, the FBI and the Secret Service all said Raub was not arrested. Chesterfield police issued a statement Monday saying Chesterfield mental health crisis intervention workers recommended that officers take Raub into emergency custody and bring him in for a mental evaluation.
On Monday, Special Justice Walter Douglas Stokes ordered Raub detained for up to 30 days for further psychological evaluation “for statements that are controversial and terrorist in nature,” according to his Rutherford Institute attorney.
Over the last couple of days, I’ve seen numerous posts linking Raub’s detainment with the detention provisions written into the National Defense Authorization Act. While his detainment raises many red flags, it is NOT an NDAA issue.
Raub was “legally” detained under Virginia’s civil involuntary commitment law.
CSB emergency services workers become involved with someone suffering a mental health crisis should that person require an Emergency Custody Order (ECO) from a magistrate so the individual can be held for an initial mental health evaluation. If this evaluation concludes that inpatient treatment is needed, a person can admit himself voluntarily. For individuals unwilling to admit themselves or incapable of doing so, a magistrate must find probable cause of harm to the person or others for the issuance of a temporary detention order (TDO) to hold the individual in a hospital for up to 48 hours. For a TDO, a CSB emergency services official must find an available bed. The individual is generally transported by law enforcement officials, and when beds cannot be located in the immediate area, this can often involve lengthy transportation across the state. The civil commitment hearing is held within 48 hours of the TDO’s issuance. The hearing can result in a dismissal, involuntary commitment for a maximum of 30 days, mandatory outpatient treatment, or judicial voluntary admission, which requires the individual to agree to care for a minimum of 72 hours and to give 48 hours notice prior to leaving. (More information)
This does not minimize what was done to Raub. The fact that the state can involuntarily commit a person to a mental institution based on Facebook posts warrants a great deal of concern and scrutiny. But those of us who oppose civil liberty violations must frame our arguments in a factual manner. The incident certainly illustrates the danger of granting the federal government power to detain people through vaguely worded language in the NDAA. But we must refrain from directly linking the action taken against Raub to the NDAA. Creating false narrative hurts our cause and shatters our credibility.
It also illustrates the importance of paying attention to what is going on at the state level.
For the Richmond Times-Dispatch story on the hearing, click HERE.
For some additional insight on the Raub case, check out radio host Leland Conway’s interview with Raub’s attorney on 1140 WRVA. Click HERE to listen.