Stolen Valor Act Ruled Constitutional By Denver Appeals Court


Does a law making it illegal to lie about being a war hero violate the First Amendment?

The Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals says no, reversing a previous decision in 2010 by a federal judge that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional. The Stolen Valor Act makes it illegal to falsely claim being awarded a military medal.

The 2010 ruling centered around Colorado resident Rick Glen Strandlof, who claimed he was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star after being wounded in Iraq. Strandlof was arrested after the military found no record of his service, and was charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act.

The Circuit Court said in its Friday ruling that "false statements of fact do not enjoy constitutional protection" unless to protect more valuable speech.

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  • by CG Location: CO Springs on Jan 31, 2012 at 07:10 AM
    I am all for the freedom of speach here but when we have true military folks fighting for our freedoms we enjoy and have someone who has not served or never earned a decoration claiming they did for there own purposes or gain is reprehensible. Our military folks earned there decorations through blood sweat and tears and not because they bought them. I am glad a court stood up and said it is wrong and not protected by the Constitution.
  • by Hopeless on Jan 27, 2012 at 09:09 PM
    How do you go about reporting someone who does this? Please give more details about this. Are they going to investigate everyone who claims any military award?
  • by Ed on Jan 27, 2012 at 09:00 PM
    Freedom isn't free. Sometimes you have to accept that everyone can say that. Not just the military.
  • by Citizen Location: CO on Jan 27, 2012 at 04:48 PM
    A website listing their name-address-photo-their fabricated service-and actual service would brand them with a scarlet letter for life without clogging our jails with more garbage.
  • by Brian Location: Monument on Jan 27, 2012 at 04:46 PM
    It is about time that the courts in this country put aside phony standards such as freedom of speech covering lies. These people who misrepresent their experience and claim honors not theirs are SCUM. No soldier gave his life willingly so that others could FALSELY claim credit for honors not earned. GET REAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • by Carma Location: Colorado on Jan 27, 2012 at 04:39 PM
    GET REAL!!! We allow people to put on life time costumes change their gender look and call themselves man/woman what ever was different before the costume and it is legal. Get real there is no difference in claiming you was in a war and got war metals, that is why my uncles and nephews have died in war is to give freedom to such things!!!!!!
    • reply
      by Carol on Jan 27, 2012 at 05:07 PM in reply to Carma
      How do you figure that Carma?
  • by Anonymous on Jan 27, 2012 at 03:22 PM
    Will medals be awarded for martial law valor? just curious.
  • by Larry Location: Pueblo West on Jan 27, 2012 at 02:20 PM
    Unfortunately, it is the right decision. Where they need to control it and prosecute is if it's used for fraud to obtain money, merchandise or services. It's just like these panhandlers all claiming to be veterans but most likely aren't. I'm a vet, but I'm more concerned about the extent of government control than a few despicable morons that will eventually get their due.
  • by jazzcat on Jan 27, 2012 at 01:52 PM
    @Anonymous (2:27pm) While your post is fairly irrational, I'll assume you’re probably a rational person. Before you form a lynch mob, consider the consequences of these lies. Was anyone hurt? Did anyone die? Was anything burned down? If the answer is 'no', then jail time shouldn't even be an option. It's not like the guy claimed he was a doctor and killed folks on the operating table. He lied about being a wounded veteran. Heck, actual veterans lie about their service. Let's keep things in perspective...this is VERY MINOR in the big picture. If you want to lock him up for something, larceny seems to fit the bill.
    • reply
      by Kirk on Jan 27, 2012 at 03:16 PM in reply to jazzcat
      jazzcat,larceny is the act of stealing something of value, but according to YOU,nothing of value is stolen if a person has lied about his or her military record, and therefore there are no victims.
      • reply
        by jazzcat on Jan 27, 2012 at 04:12 PM in reply to Kirk
        No...that's you being flippant. Strandlof (sp?) used the fabricated stories to collect money on behalf of veterans, but how that money was spent is still unknown. That, sir, is larceny.
  • by Anonymous on Jan 27, 2012 at 01:27 PM
    someone who is despicable enough to lie about being wounded in a battle zone and recieving a medal deserves to spend time in a military prison not civilian. how dare you lie about something like that. the men and women who fight for this country, whether or not they agree with why they are fighting, deserve the upmost respect in any job they do in ANY branch, and someone who cheepens that by lying in such a way deserves to be beaten and publicly humiliated.
    • reply
      by Ex A.Force on Jan 29, 2012 at 08:09 PM in reply to
      That is your opinion, and though you may be right or you may be wrong, people lie often and it is LEGAL for police to lie so why not civilians? After all, I thought the troops were fighting for our freedoms. It seems clear to anyone who can put their emotions aside for a brief time, that this is NOT about freedom but about lose of freedom and the control of what once was, a free nation. That ship sailed many years ago and this is one more law proving that fact. I hope you see I'm not picking a fight but trying to make a point and nothing more. I don't think you are anything bad.
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