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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Default Stolen Valor Act Ruled Unconstitutional

    A federal judge in Denver has ruled that the Stolen Valor Act is "facially unconstitutional" because it violates free speech, and he dismissed the criminal case against Rick Strandlof, a man who lied about being an Iraq war veteran.

    U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn issued his decision Friday and rejected the prosecution's argument that lying about having military medals dilutes their meaning and significance.

    "This wholly unsubstantiated assertion is, frankly, shocking and, indeed, unintentionally insulting to the profound sacrifices of military personnel the Stolen Valor Act purports to honor," Blackburn wrote. "To suggest that the battlefield heroism of our servicemen and women is motivated in any way, let alone in a compelling way, by considerations of whether a medal may be awarded simply defies my comprehension."

    The Stolen Valor Act prohibits people from falsely claiming they have been awarded military decorations and medals. The act, signed into law in 2006, carries a punishment ranging from fines to six months in prison.

    U.S. Rep. John Salazar, a Democrat from Manassa, introduced the legislation in 2005.

    "This is an issue of fraud, plain and simple," Salazar wrote in an e-mail Friday. "The individuals who violate this law are those who knowingly portray themselves as pillars of the community for personal and monetary gain. The Stolen Valor Act has been upheld by other courts and I am confident this decision will be overturned on appeal."

    Blackburn's decision only set precedent in the District of Colorado, and further prosecution of the law isn't likely to happen here unless a higher court strikes down his ruling.

    Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the Colorado U.S. attorney, said the Department of Justice is reviewing the ruling to determine whether an appeal should be filed.

    Strandlof, 32, was charged with five misdemeanors related to violating the Stolen Valor Act — specifically, making false claims about receiving military decorations.

    He posed 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.

    Actual veterans who served on the board were suspicious of his claims and reported him to the FBI.

    Robert Pepin, Strandlof's attorney; the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado; and the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit civil liberties group, all filed briefs with Blackburn contesting the Stolen Valor Act.

    They argued that simply lying is not illegal.

    Pepin said that he and his client were pleased with the decision and that Strandlof is doing well.

    Attorney Chris Beall, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of the ACLU of Colorado, said the decision is remarkable.

    "The First Amendment protects speech we don't like," he said. "We don't need the First Amendment for speech people like. The government cannot criminalize a statement simply because it is false, no matter how important the statement is."

    Beall points out Strandlof wasn't charged with stealing money meant for the veterans group, adding that laws are already in place for those crimes.

    "That's plain-old, regular-vanilla everyday fraud, and we do prosecute that every day," he said. "Congress does not need a special statute to prevent people from using false claims of valor in order to prevent fraud."

    John Wagner, executive director of the Warrior Legacy Foundation, a veterans group that lobbied for Strandlof's prosecution, said he will push for an appeal.

    Wagner said the ruling means he can put on a police officer's uniform and a badge and walk around lying to people about his bravery and arrests to gain favors from others, such as a free cup of coffee or a round of drinks.

    "I would be trying to extract benefits I wouldn't otherwise deserve," he said.

    Military fakers across the country have been prosecuted under the act, but Strandlof's case and the prosecution of Xavier Alvarez in the Central District of California are the only cases based on speech alone.

    In Alvarez's case, the district judge upheld his prosecution under the Stolen Valor Act, but an appeal is pending before the 9th Circuit Court.

    http://www.denverpost.com/commented/...commented-news
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk LLFHS's Avatar
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    07.30.17 @ 08:59 PM
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    They argued that simply lying is not illegal.
    Horseshit. Says in the story the scumbag lied to bilk people out of money for organization founded on a pack of bullshit. Or was that me reading too closely into this crap.
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk MF5150's Avatar
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    12.10.17 @ 12:20 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by voivod View Post

    Wagner said the ruling means he can put on a police officer's uniform and a badge and walk around lying to people about his bravery and arrests to gain favors from others, such as a free cup of coffee or a round of drinks.
    Putting on a police uniform and posing as a police officer IS against the law I thought.

    But walking into a bar and lying about who you are to get free drinks isn't and shouldn't be illegal. It makes you an asshole. But you shouldn't go to prison for it.
    My man, when you are fantasizing, don't go for attainable, you can get attainable at the local Applebee's. - Dave's Dreidel

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    05.21.17 @ 06:59 AM
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    There was a case in Ohio a few years back where a woman made tens of thousands of dollars from family and friends, as well as donation jars placed around town at convenience stores, to assist her family with her husbands cancer treatment.......truth was, he'd didn't and had never had cancer.

    She was found guilty of fraud, had to pay back the money somehow, and I believe, did some time.


    The first amendment protects the individuals right to say what he wants, it doesn't protect him from any of the possible repercussions after saying it.
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  5. #5
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    12.12.17 @ 09:51 AM
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    if just lying about your background for personal gain is against the law they're going to have to prosecute a lot of people who have resumes circulating out there right now


    but this is different.....this is a military issue and lying about service or receiving commendations is much more than just douchebag behaviour....it's a slam against every serviceman and woman who put his/her life on the line in the highest service to this country.


    Lode...I do remember that woman who was soliciting donations for her husband...in fact, there have been a few of them in Ohio, and that;s just fraud, plain and simple.....I once knew a woman who had cannisters out in a bunch of area stores for donations after losing her fully insured possessions in a rental home fire....she walked into one, took money out of it to buy cigarettes and the store manager (who had heard of her doing this before) picked up the cannister, handed it to her and told her she could have it, but he didn't want it in his store anymore

    survivor of the Bowling Green Massacre 9-3-2016 BGSU 10 OSU 77

    She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    if just lying about your background for personal gain is against the law they're going to have to prosecute a lot of people who have resumes circulating out there right now


    but this is different.....this is a military issue and lying about service or receiving commendations is much more than just douchebag behaviour....it's a slam against every serviceman and woman who put his/her life on the line in the highest service to this country.

    is it more of a slam/slap in the face/whatever else to the soldier than it is to cancer patients who are really dying and suffering and some lady comes along and pretends her husband is going through it?

    If it's the same, then I guess they need to include impersonating cancer patients into the law...and leukemia, and AIDS and whatever else...and being crippled/blind/deaf etc. In fact, since impersonating and misreprensenting yourself is going to be a slam against someone we should write the law such that everyone is completely barred from being anyone other than themselves and any attempt to misrepresent that for financial or any other gain shall be put in prison.

    Realistically, people should be honest and not lie about who they are, what they've done etc...but I'm not sure there needs to be a law specifically addressing it. There are already laws concerning fraud, theft, breach of contract etc etc.

    People who lie about stuff like this generally get caught and society takes care of it...they lose their job, they lose their reputation and if they've taken people's money they go to jail.

    So why did they write this bill? Oh yeah...to trigger those buttons people have about patriotism, honesty, military etc. I'm sure the congresman will parlay this into a few votes come the next election.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk Viking's Avatar
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    11.02.17 @ 09:45 PM
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    There was a local guy who had more "Going To Iraq!" parties at a local bar than I can count on one hand. I always wanted to ask him how he managed to keep from going over there but somehow kept my mouth shut.

    He got more free drinks than anyone I've ever seen in my life. Probably a ton of pussy too, but I wasn't there for that.
    "Viking - last to sleep, first to rise, last to leave, that's how the Nords of old rocked the house." ~ timmac in the 'Texas Linkers' thread talking about yours truly. :-)

  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Viking View Post
    There was a local guy who had more "Going To Iraq!" parties at a local bar than I can count on one hand. I always wanted to ask him how he managed to keep from going over there but somehow kept my mouth shut.

    He got more free drinks than anyone I've ever seen in my life. Probably a ton of pussy too, but I wasn't there for that.
    lots of people milk that kind of thing...LOTS. It ain't cool that's for sure. It seems every couple weeks I hear about someone getting their just dues for impersonating a soldier, trumping their "war record," their education on resumes etc etc. People lie. Shit, how many people are 6'5" with ripped abs and how many people have lived everywhere, held every job, have every experience and achieved every level of education on the internet? We run into that sort of thing all the time...but to write a law about it? nah...I'd rather see those sort of things come out in the wash. Let the laws concerning fraud and theft do what they're supposed to do. There's no need to write new ones for emotion's sake. There are assholes in the world and there are people who will try to get over...it's pointless to try and write laws for every example.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  9. #9
    Atomic Punk MF5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Hill View Post
    if just lying about your background for personal gain is against the law they're going to have to prosecute a lot of people who have resumes circulating out there right now

    That's exactly what I was thinking as well.
    My man, when you are fantasizing, don't go for attainable, you can get attainable at the local Applebee's. - Dave's Dreidel

  10. #10
    Baluchitherium loveevhsince79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by broken9500 View Post
    lots of people milk that kind of thing...LOTS. It ain't cool that's for sure. It seems every couple weeks I hear about someone getting their just dues for impersonating a soldier, trumping their "war record," their education on resumes etc etc. People lie. Shit, how many people are 6'5" with ripped abs and how many people have lived everywhere, held every job, have every experience and achieved every level of education on the internet? We run into that sort of thing all the time...but to write a law about it? nah...I'd rather see those sort of things come out in the wash. Let the laws concerning fraud and theft do what they're supposed to do. There's no need to write new ones for emotion's sake. There are assholes in the world and there are people who will try to get over...it's pointless to try and write laws for every example.
    LOL, my hubby having been in the Marine Corp as a grunt in Dragon Company always says how funny it is to talk to a fellow ex military guy in a bar because you never find another grunt. Everybody is either ex Seal, ex Ranger, ex Airborne, etc, etc.

    Stories like this do make you wish that people could get in some kind of trouble for being complete pieces of crap. I'm thinking this guy could still be in trouble being that he committed fraud in representing himself as ex military so he could solicit funds for his company. If investors say they would not have given him money had they known he was not in the military with these awards, it would seem to serve as evidence. People who portray themselves improperly on an employment application don't necessarily solicit funds for people to invest. They may get a higher pay because of an untrue education and it would be up to the employer as to how to proceed.
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  11. #11
    carpe damn diem billy007's Avatar
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    ...and I think that sums up the difference right there - if you misrepresent yourself on a resume, if your employer finds out, they have actions they can take. If you misrepresent yourself to raise funds from other people/companies - if you're found out, I don't know what options they have for recouping some of their loss to you.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk Lodewijk's Avatar
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    It's been my experience, when meeting accredited men of valor, that it's the last thing they want to talk about.

    If they're being a blow-hard in a bar, they're most assuredly lying.



    No free drinks from me.....
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  13. #13
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by billy007 View Post
    ...and I think that sums up the difference right there - if you misrepresent yourself on a resume, if your employer finds out, they have actions they can take. If you misrepresent yourself to raise funds from other people/companies - if you're found out, I don't know what options they have for recouping some of their loss to you.
    all the same options available in any other case of fraud. If I start a fake charity to raise funds for my having cancer or because I had my legs lopped if in combat or whatever and none of that is true, I can be taken to court and sued and yeah, even arrested. If found guilty I'd have to pay back the money. If I don't have the money anymore well, I'm in the same situation as anyone else who has various legal and financial judgements against them.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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