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Gingersnap
08-19-2010, 05:03 PM
Court says lying about Medal of Honor no crime

Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

(08-17) 18:48 PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal law making it a crime to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor or other military decorations violates freedom of speech, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

Although a Southern California water board member convicted of violating the Stolen Valor Act made "deliberate and despicable" claims that he had received the Medal of Honor, the Constitution prohibits the government from prosecuting someone for merely lying, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said in a 2-1 ruling.

"The right to speak and write whatever one chooses - including, to some degree, worthless, offensive and demonstrable untruths - without cowering in fear of a powerful government is, in our view, an essential component of the protection afforded by the First Amendment," Judge Milan Smith said in the majority opinion.

If lying about a medal can be classified as a crime, Smith said, so can lying about one's age, misrepresenting one's financial status on Facebook, or telling one's mother falsehoods about drinking, smoking or sex.

Dissenting Judge Jay Bybee said the Constitution does not protect knowingly false speech. He said the lies told by Xavier Alvarez "dishonor ... every service member who has been decorated in any way, and every American now serving."

Alvarez, elected in 2006 to the Three Valley Water District board in Pomona (Los Angeles County), introduced himself at a public meeting in July 2007 as a retired Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor two decades before.

The court described him as a congenital liar who had never served in the armed forces but had repeatedly claimed to have been awarded military decorations. Alvarez also described himself falsely as a former police officer and pro hockey player, the court said.



Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/08/17/BA541EVG92.DTL&aaa#ixzz0x5VwNjuD

PoliCon
08-19-2010, 06:50 PM
There's telling lies - and then there is fraud. This ruling is essentially legalizing fraud.

marinejcksn
08-22-2010, 08:29 AM
There's telling lies - and then there is fraud. This ruling is essentially legalizing fraud.

EXACTLY.

There's a huge difference between saying you were a Marine in Vietnam when you're at a pub in order to get a free beer and committing fraud to get Veteran's benefits and recognition. A lot of douchenozzles lie about serving in the military. A good friend of mine who served in Vietnam once said how he noticed the amount of people who said they were a "marine corps sniper" in Vietnam...but he served there for 4 tours and never met a single sniper. But what this court fails to understand is that lying about serving in War for this Country is a hell of a lot different then lying about being a Wall Street bigshot in order to bed gullible girls at the local watering hole.

The men and women who've served this country are owed a debt for which they can never be fully repaid. To disgrace that by lying about time served in order to get benefits is a crime. We fought for the Bill of Rights, these people hide behind it like cowards. For Shame.

marv
08-22-2010, 09:45 AM
We call ourselves a "Nation of Laws", but ignore them when convenient.


If it's okay to lie about military awards in order to gain political benefit (and steal a paycheck), I guess it's okay to lie in court about testimony.

Oaths? Who cares. Honesty? Who cares. Integrity? Who cares.

It's all okay to not play by the rules if you come out ahead - and nobody really knows the truth.

PoliCon
08-22-2010, 06:14 PM
The moment someone receives benefit based on a lie they have committed fraud. It's not different than telling your insurance company that you don't smoke - when you do - in order to get a better insurance rate or taking a job in a hospital as a doctor when you've never actually been to medical school. It's FRAUD. :mad:

fettpett
08-23-2010, 08:43 AM
another bullshit ruling from this joke of a court. The guys that won Medal of Honors EARNED them, when some douchebag claims that he did, he's doing a dishonor to all the men and women that have serverd this country. It's not freedom of speech, it's fraud, it's out right lying and it's all full of douchebagery.

marv
08-23-2010, 09:38 AM
The guys that won Medal of Honors EARNED them,...
The vast majority - posthumously...