Stolen Valor – an interesting twist – It’s protected speech

A challenge to the Stolen Valor Act is being made based on the First Amendment.

Rick Strandlof may have lied about being a decorated Iraq War veteran, but those lies are protected by the First Amendment, according to his attorney and a civil liberties organization.

imageWould you trust this man in a foxhole?

Strandlof, 32, is charged in U.S. District Court in Denver with five misdemeanors related to violating the Stolen Valor Act — specifically, making false claims about receiving military decorations.

He is accused of posing as "Rick Duncan," a wounded Marine captain who received a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. Strandlof used that persona to found the Colorado Veterans Alliance and solicit funds for the organization.

On Tuesday, the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties group based in Virginia, filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Strandlof’s case attacking the constitutionality of the Stolen Valor Act.

Denver Post reports.

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One response to “Stolen Valor – an interesting twist – It’s protected speech”

  1. Steve says:

    1. A very tricky subject… Let’s say for the fun of it, that a person lies about his Valor and is now decorated. As a part of free speech (Which every serviceperson has fought for) the free part does NOT say TRUTHFULL, it says free, what we of society has added is the words as long as it does not create Libel, Slander, Threats. SO the ability to say “The President sucks at basketball” is legal and you can express this publicly.
    (THE LEGAL DEFINATION) The right, guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, to communicate ideas and opinions without government intervention.
    This same Freedom we enjoy is at times questioned in matters like this, “Does the person have the right to say “I am a hero, and I have won 137 medals of valor” By the constitution, Yes he does.
    Now let’s take a stupid hypothetical and say we pass the law which says to lay claim to a medal given in war or peace time is not legal (IT makes a true medal winner feel bad” , Or “it is an insult to the Medal”, we have in some cases just censored a freedom. (Like it or not)
    Now let’s take a sharp attorney gifted with the ability to read between the lines and he engages a client who is seeking divorce and wants all her husband’s money and property… He takes this law and shows her years of service with the Husband and compares it to the soldier, although she has not won a medal, she nevertheless should have under the attorneys attack and the jury see’s this the attorneys way. He wins and the Husband is considered as having lied and cause the “Feel Bad emotion”. What has now occurred is a precedence which is taken by another attorney and win’s in a different arena of law, And on, And on, it goes. Although slowly, it does grow and the change is enlarged as people feel more emotion in areas they feel may be Just Wrong. What we ask for seems so simple today, can cause so many changes for tomorrow that we then would say. “I wish we had never gone there!
    Because someday a simple lie like “I think I love you” just to get the lady of the moment to loosen up would be considered that “Feel Bad” syndrome from above.
    On a different note, the fact that funds were received is a fraud, But at the same time, what if the funds gathered under the fraud, went to exactly what they were intended for or promised to? Is it still a Fraud? and Who lost out now? Ask yourself how far you want to take a Freedom? the same freedom so many soldiers died to protect?
    2. Actually I forgot to say, as a soldier and serviceman, I know what I did, and that is all that counts. I did a job, and I did it as best I know how. There were things I am not proud of and there are things that still haunt my dreams, by I live and I go on. It is my confidence in myself that keeps me alive and knowing who I am. If a person needs the strength of my medal, then I let him have it. If it makes him feel like a man, I release it. If his life is touched, then I have done something good. As for me I know what I have and no one can take it away, except one, and I will see him on the day of my judgment. In the meantime I will live only one day at a time.
    I sometimes think the only difference in a Soldier with a Medal and a Soldier without one is the simple fact of WHO saw him do this act of Valor, as every soldier has performed one. The one fact he serves is Valor alone.

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