Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stolen Valor Law Unconstitutional

The Denver Post reported Saturday that the "Stolen Valor" law which made it illegal to lie about having military combat medals is unconstitutional.  Rick Strandlof (pic) was charged with Strandlof, 32, was charged with five misdemeanors related to violating the Stolen Valor Act — specifically, making false claims about receiving military decorations.

Strandlof used the alias, Rick Duncan,  who he said was a  wounded Marine captain and was awarded a Purple Heart and a Silver Star. Strandlof  as " Duncan" created the Colorado Veterans Alliance which raised funds for veterans causes. According to the Post article, Veterans who served on the board of the Veterans Alliance were suspicious of his claims and reported him to authorities, as I have said real veterans are not easily fooled by frauds based on hundreds of little cues.

The Post reports: " 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 act, signed into law in 2006, carries a punishment ranging from fines to six months in prison.
We orginally looked at this issue in February.  The Bad Lawyer is a US Army veteran, in fact in preparing to be interviewed as part of my pre-sentence investigation I pulled togeteher al number of the old documents from my service circa 1972-1975.

As I said previously on Bad Lawyer, basic training and subsequent service makes life long changes in the way you talk, the way you hold yourself, the way you walk.  Any subtle deviations in military insignias or medals including placement and spacing is a dead give-away to the real veterans.  Yeah, I think pieces of work, like Strandlof are obnoxious--but unless they are stealing money, I can't think of any reason to have anything but contempt for their pathetic mimicry of real veterans and authentic heroes.


  1. This punk should reincarnate as my jock strap.

  2. He apparently received 25K in Reno on New Year's Eve for the CVA. Fraud? Not him.

  3. They can prosecute him for the financial fraud itself. Doesn't matter whether or not he was making up stuff about being a veteran in and of itself. The financial fraud is prosecutable by itself.