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kanegs
17th July 10, 09:54 AM
Note. I didn't serve in the Military (like most Americans I have lots of friends and family who did / are), and my friends consider me to be rather liberal, but this is takig things too far. This is like saying that it's ok to impersonate a police officer as long as you don't arrest anyone.

From http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/07/ap_fake_hero_penalty_071610/?sms_ss=facebook

Judge rules Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional

By Dan Elliott - The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Jul 17, 2010 10:18:16 EDT
DENVER — A law that makes it illegal to lie about being a war hero is unconstitutional because it violates free speech, a federal judge ruled Friday as he dismissed a case against a Colorado man who claimed he received two military medals.
Rick Glen Strandlof claimed he was an ex-Marine who was wounded in Iraq and received the Purple Heart and Silver Star, but the military had no record he ever served. He was charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime punishable by up to a year in jail to falsely claim to have won a military medal.
U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn dismissed the case and said the law is unconstitutional, ruling the government did not show it has a compelling reason to restrict that type of statement.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney in Denver said prosecutors are reviewing the decision and haven’t decided whether to appeal. The spokesman said that decision would be made by the U.S. Justice Department in Washington and prosecutors in Denver.
Strandlof’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a call.
The law has also been challenged in California and a case now before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Denver attorney Christopher P. Beall, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief for the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, said the Stolen Valor Act is fatally flawed because it doesn’t require prosecutors to show anyone was harmed or defamed by the lie.
“The government position was that any speech that’s false is not protected by the First Amendment. That proposition is very dangerous,” Beall said.
“It puts the government in a much more powerful position to prosecute people for speaking out on things they believe to be true but turn out not to be true,” he said.
Beall said the ACLU was not defending the actions Strandlof is accused of, but took issue with the principle behind the law.

MEGA JESUS-SAMA
17th July 10, 09:57 AM
Who cares?

Big Dozer
17th July 10, 10:14 AM
Wish the Stolen Valor Act, was still around. Know a lot of annoying people I could get with that. But there are morons everywhere.

Vorpal
17th July 10, 10:44 AM
Well, the judge's decision could be overturned on appeal. In a worst case scenario if it were upheld Congress could also go back and rewrite the law outlining a more compelling reason to restrict this form of speech. Obviously if anyone could walk around with any military decoration, claim any military distinction, falsely with impunity it could detract from our ability to recruit and deploy people to protect our nation (why should I enlist, go through BUDs, become a Seal and fight to get a MOH when I can get one on ebay for $4.95). I don't believe the founding fathers would have thought that this type of speech warrants protection.

Hedley LaMarr
17th July 10, 10:47 AM
I have a feeling this ruling will get knocked down at an appeal. This is at best tangentially related to free speech and I don't see how fraud can be protected by the 1st Amendment, as lying about military records can and has been used by shady businessmen (don't believe me? Spend 5 minutes in MABS over at Bullshido.)

HappyOldGuy
17th July 10, 10:54 AM
Hmm, worst case they may need to rewrite the law to require a financial motive so they can cover it under their right to regulate fraud.

Ajamil
17th July 10, 10:59 AM
They could make earning the medals into some sort of club, and suing for libel against the club.

Ajamil
17th July 10, 11:01 AM
I don't believe the founding fathers would have thought that this type of speech warrants protection.

Doesn't matter. They set the idea and left the specifics for later - quite nice, really. This way it can be adjusted.

FriendlyFire
17th July 10, 11:54 AM
Hmm, worst case they may need to rewrite the law to require a financial motive so they can cover it under their right to regulate fraud.

This is a really good idea, because while I like the idea of jailing assholes like that, I'm a big fan of old 1st amendment and anything challenging it makes me nervous.

Ajamil
17th July 10, 12:09 PM
The ones who actually have medals should wear them all the time and immediately challenge each other upon sight.

Robot Jesus
17th July 10, 05:28 PM
I have a feeling this ruling will get knocked down at an appeal. This is at best tangentially related to free speech and I don't see how fraud can be protected by the 1st Amendment, as lying about military records can and has been used by shady businessmen (don't believe me? Spend 5 minutes in MABS over at Bullshido.)
my understanding is that fraud is not protected

if I tell an employer that I won the VC in the secret war against Australia I can be sued for fraud. if I tell the same story to a drunk chick at a bar, she can't sue.

it's all about protecting your right to lie to drunk chicks.

bob
17th July 10, 05:41 PM
my understanding is that fraud is not protected

if I tell an employer that I won the VC in the secret war against Australia I can be sued for fraud. if I tell the same story to a drunk chick at a bar, she can't sue.



My father died in that war faggot.

Ajamil
17th July 10, 08:45 PM
???
http://dailypop.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/o_secret_wars01_00.jpg

ICY
17th July 10, 09:06 PM
Fraud should be punishable...just lying though? Not worth the effort, IMO.

Big Dozer
18th July 10, 07:13 AM
Fraud should be punishable...just lying though? Not worth the effort, IMO.

I am leaning towards this. I mean its a douchebag thing to do and I know WAY to many who do it. But to me it seems like one of those slippery slope type deals. Now if they are claiming to be active duty or receiving any military discounts or veteran assistance, then burn the fucker.

Robot Jesus
18th July 10, 10:27 AM
"you received 5% veterans discount on you moon over my hammy under false pretenses? TO THE STOCKS WITH YE!!!!!"

Big Dozer
18th July 10, 02:09 PM
"you received 5% veterans discount on you moon over my hammy under false pretenses? TO THE STOCKS WITH YE!!!!!"

Your slang confuses me...

Cullion
18th July 10, 03:12 PM
In the UK there's no such law (unless they pretend to be a serviceman on duty), but military associations and journalists are always delighted to publicly out such people in the most detailed possible way in their local press.

The most common format is a large pic of the impostor dressed in their fake beret/medals/imaginary former unit's tie at some remembrance parade accompanied by a detailed explanation of how it's known that they're lying.

elipson
19th July 10, 12:57 AM
I'm pretty sure fraud can only be convicted if someone madea monetary gain from lying about their credentials, thereby taking someones money under false pretenses (see David Bannon over at BS, I think it was him).

When I first heard about this law I thought it would run into problems with the US constitution. It's shitty but it doesn't suprise me at all.

Maybe they could make an ancilliary law making it legal to assault people who are proven to be lying about their military service.

Adouglasmhor
19th July 10, 03:16 AM
In the UK there's no such law (unless they pretend to be a serviceman on duty), but military associations and journalists are always delighted to publicly out such people in the most detailed possible way in their local press.

The most common format is a large pic of the impostor dressed in their fake beret/medals/imaginary former unit's tie at some remembrance parade accompanied by a detailed explanation of how it's known that they're lying.


A recent one was some poor old slop jockey who claimed to have served with the SAS in Malaya, when he was exposed in a national comic with a reading age of <7 former comrades turned round to say they all knew he was not a SAS member but had been their unit cook and they didn't mind.

Robot Jesus
20th July 10, 06:58 PM
you have news comics?

Cullion
20th July 10, 07:02 PM
he's talking about tabloid newspapers.

Zendetta
20th July 10, 09:57 PM
The law should protect people's right to 'free speech' - which does not mean all public douchebaggery btw.

The punishment for military folks beatin' the everliving dogshit out of some poser should be, how shall we say.... lightly punished.

(They should have to read stories of war heroism to kids for a few hours)