Very good read on upcoming SCOTUS Stolen Valor Act case

Very good read on upcoming SCOTUS Stolen Valor Act case

This is a discussion on Very good read on upcoming SCOTUS Stolen Valor Act case within the Law Enforcement, Military & Homeland Security Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Stolen Valor Act case: a checklist of things to watch | First Amendment Center Stolen Valor Act case: a checklist of things to watch Tony ...

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Thread: Very good read on upcoming SCOTUS Stolen Valor Act case

  1. #1
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    Very good read on upcoming SCOTUS Stolen Valor Act case

    Stolen Valor Act case: a checklist of things to watch | First Amendment Center

    Stolen Valor Act case: a checklist of things to watch
    Tony Mauro -- First Amendment Center Legal Correspondent

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    WASHINGTON — Unlike some other recent First Amendment cases the Supreme Court has handled, United States v. Alvarez is a tough one to call.

    Set for argument on Feb. 22, the case asks whether the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime falsely to claim having won a military honor, violates freedom of speech.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared the law unconstitutional in the case of Xavier Alvarez, a local politician in Pomona, Calif., who was convicted for claiming in a public speech that he had won the Medal of Honor, when in fact he had never even served in the military.

    On one hand, the Court has often said, at least in passing, that false speech deserves little or no First Amendment protection. And lying about a military honor could pull at the justices’ patriotic heart strings. On the other hand, do justices really want the government criminalizing seemingly inconsequential lies, when politicians, spouses, teenagers and dentists (“It won’t hurt a bit”) lie more or less daily? As 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski wrote at an earlier stage of the case, “living means lying.”

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    Part of me feels very strongly that this kind of behavior should be forbidden, however another part of me feels that should be done through social mores rather than legislation. Legislating against lying is indeed a dangerous thing to do. Perjury and false witness in court are one thing; claiming to be something you're not is entirely different and I don't believe should be a criminal offense.
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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Same. No matter how despicable it is when found out society is in a better postion to shun them. It should not be a legal matter. If the person is using it for personal gain then their should be civil action against them.
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    This case is a Politician lying about his qualifications and background...Wonder where the FBI referal came from? The federal government takes very seriously the verasity of statement's given to its agent's..but in a polical race a politican can pretty much say ANYTHING...bet its gets called on that issue.."protected political speach"....KALIfornia dreamin ...$.02

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    There is one option left out. It is unconstitutional but the SC will find against the defendant anyway,
    on some other grounds which allow them to skirt the free speech issue.

    I agree that being a big liar and pretending to be something you are not is disgusting, reprehensible, sad,
    unprincipled, etc. etc. etc.

    But you know, lot of men lie like hell about stuff like this all the time. When they are found out it
    is their wife's problem, their employer's problem, their bank's problem... but if it wasn't done to trick someone
    out of money, it is IMO still free speech. Free men are allowed to tell lies; just watch all the political ads and
    you will see how it works.

    I certainly agree that it is highly offensive, but it falls far short of fraud (if not done for gain) and far short of
    yelling fire in a theater.

    The University in town here recently fired a very very high official when it was discovered that he had been
    telling lies about being a SEAL or Special Ops, or whatever for quite some time. Apparently he was hired
    on the say so of a friend, and no one double checked his background. He lost a job, was publicly humiliated,
    ruined his reputation, and I see no reason to waste my tax dollars on a trial and a jail sentence.

    Again, I'm not condoning. Just pointing out that not all wrong doing has to be criminalized.
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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Sadly I have to agree with that also. Our emotions tell us to fry the guy. But as sad as it is it should be protected just because it would open up Pandoras box to other lies that are told by people every day.

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    If this country is going to jail people for lying, it'll have to build a prison wall all the way around the country. At least that may solve the open border issue.

    All one can hope for is that people such as this are quickly exposed for the cads they are.
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    Well, the 1A does several things, and two are applicable here. The dirt bag that told a lie exercized his 1A right to be a liar. The press, who outed the dirt bag, exercized its 1A right to examine people, particularly political candidates and tell the world what they found out. In this case, that the dirt bag is a liar.

    The 1A worked, we need more legislation on this like we need a hole in the head. I vote for SCOTUS finding the law unconstitutional.
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    I look at it not so much as the lying but the gain a person is attempting to achieve with this specific lie.

    While someone that wants to brag he was in combat and received certain medals to impress his family, co-workers, etc., is mainly doing harm to himself. However when political candidates are using such lies they are using them to gain our trust that they will be in our best interest as the elected official. There appears to be a line over this issue. However, I do not believe the issue of lying is in the constitution. That brings up the dilemma of how should such lies be dealt with. Maybe requiring politicians to allow their DD414's public record would solve that issue. As for others, I don't believe there is much you can do with them. Other than possibly helping a candidate get votes I do not know what having military medals really get.

    Tough call.
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    If it is decided it is a 1st Amendment right to lie about military awards received, won't it also a 1st Amendment right to lie about being a LEO? Try representing yourself as a LEO and see what happens. Same should be true for a veteran and decorations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    If it is decided it is a 1st Amendment right to lie about military awards received, won't it also a 1st Amendment right to lie about being a LEO? Try representing yourself as a LEO and see what happens. Same should be true for a veteran and decorations.
    There is a difference in the situation. Time. The liar in this case indicated that he had been a whatever; in the past. I do no harm if I lie and tell my neighbor that when I was 22 I was CT State Police Officer (not true for the record).

    The person who impersonates a police officer in the present is doing more than merely telling a big fib. He is setting someone up
    to be the victim of a crime.

    I know this is a nuanced answer. There are plenty of what ifs one can conjure up. What if someone goes about and pretends to be a police officer but isn't into doing anything more than the impersonation? That still could cause immediate serious harm to others. e.g., Sir, "there's a woman over there screaming for help and she's surrounded by 4 bad looking guys." In that situation the mere impersonation would lead to great harm because the person who approached the impersonator wasted time he might have used to call 911 or intervene on his own.

    There are plenty of old men who stormed Normandy from the rear end of a desk. It is wrong to dishonor those who actually clawed through the mud and blood, but it should not be a crime to tell a white-lie.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crowman View Post
    I look at it not so much as the lying but the gain a person is attempting to achieve with this specific lie.

    While someone that wants to brag he was in combat and received certain medals to impress his family, co-workers, etc., is mainly doing harm to himself. However when political candidates are using such lies they are using them to gain our trust that they will be in our best interest as the elected official.

    Tough call.
    Good point!

    When I posed this I was focusing on the military aspects. But the issue seems broader.

    IMHO, the gain a person is attempting to achieve with a specific lie should be the key -- and that gain need not need to be lucre / direct monetary gain / etc. If this issue / question gets expanded into the gain of political influence or position (and politicians are held guilty for all direct lies) that might not be so bad.

    Maybe criminal is not the way to go. Libel lawsuits almost always involve a civil (not criminal) case brought by one person against another, for damages suffered from an alleged false claim or statement made about the person bring the sued. Truth generally provides legal protection for the speaker or writer. OTOH, a reckless disregard for the truth ups the ante. Maybe, a civil suit for the damages to the opponent or the voters bringing the suit caused / done by false claim or statement by the person being sued about himself might be a way to go. However, as the article quoted from an opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts Jr., “Where the First Amendment is implicated, the tie goes to the speaker, not the censor.”

    OTOH maybe, we should come at this another way. Maybe we need a law that requires politicians to sign an affidavit about all their educational and experience claims to go along with the financial disclosure forms -- before elections.
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    Dave H and all: Our political world has a very long sordid history of political big-lies. They were rampant from the
    very start; and certainly used viciously during Washington's administration by various individuals. News papers of the day, as today, just made stuff up. The more outrageous, the better.

    If we tried to outlaw political lies our poor judges would get overwhelmed, and our common criminals would go free for lack of
    timely trials.

    Our founding fathers were not saints. They were quite able to tell big ones.
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    Dave H and all: Our political world has a very long sordid history of political big-lies. They were rampant from the
    very start; and certainly used viciously during Washington's administration by various individuals. News papers of the day, as today, just made stuff up. The more outrageous, the better.

    If we tried to outlaw political lies our poor judges would get overwhelmed, and our common criminals would go free for lack of
    timely trials.

    Our founding fathers were not saints. They were quite able to tell big ones.
    If the Union is once severed, the line of separation will grow wider and wider, and the controversies which are now debated and settled in the halls of legislation will then be tried in fields of battle and determined by the sword.
    Andrew Jackson

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    this should not be a USSC case.....but this guy should have his butt kicked up between his ears
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