Stolen Valor Act struck down

Discussion in 'Law Enforcement & Military' started by Donn, Jun 28, 2012.

  1. Donn

    Donn Active Member

    By a 6-3 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the 9th Circuit Court and struck down the Stolen Valor Act, citing it as a violation of 1st Amendment free speech. Now any mouth breather who feels like it can parade around wearing any award they want, claiming they "earned" it. The same awards our brothers bled and continue to bleed for. Beam me up, Scotty.
     
  2. G-23

    G-23 Premium Member

    Sign of the times.

    Just this pass Sunday several churches had the autos broken into during their morning services.

    All we can do is be prepared for the theives, liers and cheats. Call'em as you see them, I do.
     

  3. zipper046

    zipper046 Member Supporter

    285
    0
    See it, question it, call em out on it!
     
  4. havasu

    havasu Well-Known Member Supporter

    I am anxiously waiting for that pendulum to swing in the other direction. God help us if it doesn't soon!
     
  5. havasu

    havasu Well-Known Member Supporter

    The original case involves a man who lied through his teeth in order to be elected for my local water board. I am familiar with all the players, and this was just wrong in every way possible.

    Supreme Court strikes down Stolen Valor law over case involving Pomona man

    By Wes Woods II, Staff Writer
    Posted: 06/28/2012 09:57:38 PM PDT

    The Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a federal law under which Pomona resident Xavier Alvarez was convicted for lying about receiving the Medal of Honor.

    Justices branded his false claim contemptible but nonetheless determined the lies were protected by the First Amendment.

    The court voted 6-3 in favor of Alvarez, a former Three Valleys Municipal Water District official, who lied about being a decorated war veteran.

    He pleaded guilty to violating the 2006 law, known as the Stolen Valor Act, which is aimed at people making phony claims of heroism in battle.

    The ruling, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ordered that the conviction be thrown out.

    "Though few might find respondent's statements anything but contemptible, his right to make those statements is protected by the Constitution's guarantee of freedom of speech and expression. The Stolen Valor Act infringes upon speech protected by the First Amendment," Kennedy said.

    Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented in the Alvarez case.

    "These lies have no value in and of themselves, and proscribing them does not chill any valuable speech," Alito said.

    "By holding that the First Amendment nevertheless shields these lies, the court breaks sharply from a long line of cases recognizing that the right to free speech does not protect false statements that inflict real harm and serve no legitimate interest."

    He made his claims by way of introducing himself as an elected member of Three Valleys Municipal Water District, which encompasses cities in far eastern Los Angeles County from Azusa to Claremont and south to Diamond Bar.
    He was later convicted of defrauding the water district for a separate incident and sent to state prison.

    "Those poor people who lost their arms and legs and were awarded some kind of a posthumous medal would probably roll over in their graves today," said Vietnam veteran Douglas Swanstrom, 64, of La Verne.

    "To me, it's just a slap in the face for everybody that served the country."

    After the decision, Swanstrom said he decided to fly the American flag outside his home upside down in protest.

    "We were certainly very pleased with the court's decision as is Mr. Alvarez," said Alvarez's public defender, Jonathan Libby, who spoke to Alvarez after the decision was announced.

    "He thanked us for the job we did for him," Libby said.

    The Supreme Court had been "very protective" of the First Amendment for a few years now, and its decision was not a surprise to him, said Libby, who added that Alvarez has been released from prison.

    "This case is consistent with those prior decisions," Libby said. "What the court said (Thursday) was essentially the government doesn't get to be an arbitrator of truth and they can't act as a minister of truth. The government doesn't get to tell us what we can and cannot say. As long as it does not cause harm to another individual or the government."

    The conviction will be formally reversed, and the $5,000 fine Alvarez paid will be repaid.

    His lawyers challenged the law by acknowledging their client's lies, but also insisting that they harmed no one.

    Jim Frost, 68, a former mayor of Rancho Cucamonga and Vietnam War veteran, disagreed with Alvarez's lawyers.

    "Was anybody harmed? The answer is absolutely," Frost said. "Talk to the people who voted for him."

    Frost spoke out against Alvarez during many of the water district's public hearings.

    Frost said Alvarez's "deceitful" advertising of being a Medal of Honor winner influenced the electorate to vote for him in the 2007 election over another a more qualified candidate, Luis M. Juarez.

    "In my opinion, Alvarez would not be in there had (the voters) known who it was they were voting for. Those folks were harmed," Frost said. "Not to mention Three Valleys was harmed. He was incompetent in making decisions. And the fact he replaced a knowledgable board member based on his lies."

    Three Valleys water board director Brian Bowcock was on the board with Alvarez and was outspoken against him.

    "I'm very upset that's what happened," Bowcock said of the decision.

    "But ... life will go on. And people will forget. This whole country will forget, but the ones who won't are the families and friends of the recipients of the Medal of Honor. I've lost respect for the Supreme Court."




    Read more: http://www.sgvtribune.com/ci_20969267/supreme-court-strikes-down-stolen-valor-law-over#ixzz1zC7KTd9P