Monday, February 20, 2012

Is Stolen Valor a Felony?

Jim Fausone
Veterans Disability Lawyer

It is a federal offense to lie about your military service and to claim the status of a Medal of Honor recipient when it is not true.

The Stolen Valor Act makes lying about having received military awards a federal crime. Some argue that it is not criminal to lie about such military service. Some courts have found the act is a violation of the First Amendment. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an earlier ruling determining that a law barring people from lying about their military heroics was a violation of free speech. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court found the act constitutional. I wonder if these judges would have a different opinion if the defendant was misrepresenting they were a federal judge and expecting respect and power from such a false statement. Have we become a society that cannot draw a hard line about what is right and what is wrong? George Washington stated in a 1782 Order, “Should any who are not entitled to the honors, have the insolence to assume the badges of them, they shall be severely punished.” The U.S. Supreme Court will resolve this split between the federal district courts. Oral arguments are scheduled for this week and a decision later this year is expected. I would hope they uphold the law and keep a hard line between right and wrong.

Read more: 10th Circuit upholds Stolen Valor Act - The Denver Post

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