Legal Buzz June 28, 2012: Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act in United States v. Alvarez

LEGAL BUZZ

COURT AND LEGAL NEWS:

THE HEADLINES….

IN FOCUS: SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN STOLEN VALOR ACT

United States v. Alvarez — Full Text Opinion — SCOTUS, 6-28-12

Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Act

Source: ABC News Radio, 6-28-12

The Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act on Thursday, saying that the First Amendment defends a person’s right to lie — even if that person is lying about awards and medals won through military service.

The case started in 2007 when California man Xavier Alvarez was convicted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2006, the federal legislation that made it illegal for people to claim to have won or to wear military medals or ribbons they did not earn.  Alvarez had publicly claimed to have won the country’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor, but was later revealed to have never served in the military at all.

Alvarez was sentenced to three years probation, a $5,000 fine and community service, but he and his lawyer appealed the decision, saying that the Stolen Valor Act is unconstitutional — essentially that it violates a person’s right to lie….READ MORE

Lying About Earning War Medals Is Protected Speech, Justices Rule

Source: NYT, 6-28-12

The justices said that a federal law making it a crime to lie about having earned a military decoration was an unconstitutional infringement on free speech….READ MORE

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