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It's not stolen valor, it's free speech
Lowell Sun ^ | 07/10/2012 | Peter Lucas

Posted on 07/10/2012 11:15:27 AM PDT by pietraynor

Guy walks in a bar.

The regulars look up. The guy's a stranger. Around his neck he's wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor. The regulars put down their shot glasses and crowd around the guy. They befriend the hero and buy him drinks. They're honored by his company.

Turns out the guy's a phony. He was never in Korea or Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan. He never was anywhere. He never saw combat. He never was even in the military. He bought the medal online.

So the regulars take the guy out back and give him the beating he deserves. The guy calls the cops.

The Supreme Court gets the case and rules 6-3 that the guy can wear any medal he wants, even if it is the highest award for bravery the country can give out. It doesn't matter if he earned it or not. It doesn't matter if it is legitimate or not. It doesn't matter if he lied about it to cage drinks.

Read more: http://www.lowellsun.com/columnists/ci_21042129/its-not-stolen-valor-its-free-speech#ixzz20FFRLbSO

(Excerpt) Read more at lowellsun.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 07/10/2012 11:15:34 AM PDT by pietraynor
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To: pietraynor

You wouldn’t think I would be posting here, especially since I’m a brane surjun from Hardvard...but I are.


2 posted on 07/10/2012 11:21:28 AM PDT by Portcall24
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To: pietraynor

If he’s healthy enough to call the cops then the guys didn’t beat him up enough.


3 posted on 07/10/2012 11:22:18 AM PDT by History Repeats (Drink plenty of TEA, but avoid the Koolaid.)
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To: pietraynor
It doesn't matter if it is legitimate or not. It doesn't matter if he lied about it to cage drinks.

Legally it shouldn't matter, but it does indicate that the guy wearing it is a lying scumball, and he should expect any non-legal consequences like getting the crap beaten out of him if his lies are discovered. The first amendment protects free speech from government interference (except when telling the truth about an incumbent during election season - thank you rino Juan McCain) Doesn't mean that there shouldn't be non governmental consequences.

4 posted on 07/10/2012 11:24:25 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: pietraynor

To apply this logic across the board it seems it would be legal to impersonate a State Trooper, Sheriff’s Deputy, Local Policeman, a Secret Service agent or an FBI agent.

Or, just for fun, you could represent yourself to be a Senator, a Judge, a lawyer (but why?), a brain surgeon, a sex therapist or a gynecologist.

If you ever wanted to be an astronaut, a fighter pilot, a nuclear submarine commander or a Navy Seal now is your chance.


5 posted on 07/10/2012 11:24:36 AM PDT by Iron Munro (Ayn Rand: "In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win")
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To: Iron Munro

Good thing the statute of limitations has expired on convincing people in a bar in N. Conway NH that you and your friend invented Snausages.


6 posted on 07/10/2012 11:29:20 AM PDT by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: pietraynor

Congress shoud “tax” all those who wear medals they did not earn. A billion dollars a medal. Justice Roberts said they can do it.


7 posted on 07/10/2012 11:32:55 AM PDT by Miles the Slasher
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To: pietraynor

Congress shoud “tax” all those who wear medals they did not earn. A billion dollars a medal. Justice Roberts said they can do it.


8 posted on 07/10/2012 11:33:06 AM PDT by Miles the Slasher
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To: from occupied ga

I don’t grok this angle on the case. The beating was clearly contrary to established law under any conceivable circumstances (I’m not hearing about any citizens arrest which it was necessary to effect by said beating). I have no sympathy for the chesty thumpers should they be hauled in on charges by police and convicted in front of a black female Clinton judge. With that said it ought to be considered fraud and civilly actionable to obtain favors by false pretenses no matter if you’re impersonating a general or a handicapped person.


9 posted on 07/10/2012 11:34:15 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Isn’t there a crime called “Criminal Impersonation”

You cannot impersonate a police officer, or a military officer, how is this any different?


10 posted on 07/10/2012 11:37:22 AM PDT by Mr. K (OBAMA MUST BE STOPPED ROMNEY/GINGRICH)
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To: pietraynor

Thats not how to hold a blanket party...
How do you identify some one you have never seen...


11 posted on 07/10/2012 11:38:03 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: Mr. K

There is a huge difference between donning an officers uniform and trying to get on base and boss people around and claiming that you ONCE were an officer.

You can claim you once were a Police officer, but you cannot put on a Police uniform and a fake badge and issue traffic citations.

You can claim you once were a brain surgeon - but you cannot put on scrubs and go into the hospital and start cutting on people.

Notice the difference?


12 posted on 07/10/2012 11:42:22 AM PDT by allmendream (Tea Party did not send GOP to D.C. to negotiate the terms of our surrender to socialism)
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To: Mr. K

This is obviously a crime that applies only when the disguise is for the purpose of attempting to impose the rights of such an officer. Nobody bothers the weird gay bars where people masquerade as officers because others think it’s sexy, but the masqueraders are not trying to obtain favors or impose upon the unknowing or unwilling.


13 posted on 07/10/2012 11:43:01 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: pietraynor

I like Benjamin Franklin. Can my printer impersonate the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing?


14 posted on 07/10/2012 11:44:08 AM PDT by posterchild
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To: pietraynor

It is neither stolen valor (you cannot steal valor) or free speech (unless you are conservative or Christian,you can say about anything you want), it’s FRAUD . . . obtaining something you want under false pretenses, even if it is only someone’s respect and admiration.


15 posted on 07/10/2012 11:44:36 AM PDT by RatRipper (Obama, YOU LIE!!! . . .again and again and again and again, ad infinitum. . . .)
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To: hosepipe

It’s very notable here how many who have supposedly sworn to uphold the constitution, thumb their nose at plain vanilla garden variety law, which has withstood every manner of constitutional challenge, that forbids the extralegal conduct they propose to enter into. The law is NOT “what you can get away with is okay.”

I can understand the temptation. But I cannot condone it.


16 posted on 07/10/2012 11:46:48 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: pietraynor

Under contract law, unilateral mistake does not void a contract- if I offer to give you $1,000 for your watch because I think it’s a genuine Rolex (it’s a cheap knockoff) and you accept it, I cannot win in court if I sue to get my money back.

So if I gave this jerk a benefit solely because I thought he earned a MoH the SCotUS tells me that’s my tough luck-

but if my bar has a “MoH winners drink all they want for 1 cent!” promotion, then I could sue him for fraud and collect damages (?)


17 posted on 07/10/2012 11:47:00 AM PDT by Vesuvian
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To: RatRipper

If someone snookers your mere friendship under a pretense, when found out that person ought to be called to account, whether shamed and shunned, or whether explicitly forgiven (but in no case excused).

If someone snookers a material favor, you might have a civil case. If there isn’t a law backing this up, there perhaps should be one. It’s no better to snooker drinks at a bar because you masqueraded as a general than if you snookered a handicap parking spot when you weren’t handicapped.


18 posted on 07/10/2012 11:51:30 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: pietraynor
The person that earns a Medal of Honor is a top tiered person. He is above a policeman and many presidents. If impersonating him is not criminal impersonation then impersonating a bad president of the USA or an insane SCOTUS judge would be to a similar degree. The criminal part would then be a phony cop taking traffic fines.
19 posted on 07/10/2012 11:51:57 AM PDT by mountainlion (I am voting for Sarah after getting screwed again by the DC Thugs.)
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To: from occupied ga

But the scumbag took/received gifts based on his lie. He conned people. He should be liable, imo. Otherwise, if he announced that it’s fake, and then received the gifts, it’d be ok.


20 posted on 07/10/2012 11:53:03 AM PDT by SgtHooper (The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.)
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To: pietraynor

I wish people would understand the difference between a Congressional Medal of Honor and a Medal of Honor. Besides, given the recent history of the body, adding the superfluous word “Congressional” is a slight.


21 posted on 07/10/2012 11:53:31 AM PDT by Temujinshordes
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To: Vesuvian

Even there things are cloudy. There is such an offense as unjust enrichment that might apply when you take advantage of someone else’s mistake in a contract.


22 posted on 07/10/2012 11:53:58 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
The beating was clearly contrary to established law under any conceivable circumstances,

Yes the beating was clearly illegal, but it's a risk he took when he conned people out of drink money. The main point is that freedom of speech only protects you from GOVERNMENT actions it doen't protect you from private consequences of your actions.

23 posted on 07/10/2012 11:54:16 AM PDT by from occupied ga (Your government is your most dangerous enemy)
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To: from occupied ga

And I do not beweep in the slightest any fate that came to the beaters on account of the beating. And I do not condone any threats express or implied to beat someone under such circumstances.


24 posted on 07/10/2012 11:55:27 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (let me ABOs run loose, lew)
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To: pietraynor

So why is it a crime to copy another’s writings? Maybe the Medals should be copyrighted to the earner.


25 posted on 07/10/2012 11:57:52 AM PDT by ex-snook (without forgivness there is no Christianity)
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To: pietraynor

Good, now I can forge a handicapped certificate and park wherever I want.

It’s my free speech, ya see?


26 posted on 07/10/2012 11:59:23 AM PDT by Da Coyote
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To: from occupied ga; HiTech RedNeck

As an attorney, I can tell you that there’s the law, and then there are the rules. You can bend the law but you don’t mess with the rules.

Beating the guy was against the law, but it wasn’t against the rules.


27 posted on 07/10/2012 12:00:17 PM PDT by henkster (We're the slaves of the phony leaders...)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

[ I can understand the temptation. But I cannot condone it. ]

True its regrettable you must beat the snot out of some people.. to get their attention..
People that flaunt your sacred values and mock them..

People that lie as if it was normal... like a democrat...
Lying in front of democrats is one thing lying in front of non democrats is something else..

Has its consequences....


28 posted on 07/10/2012 12:06:19 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: pietraynor
It doesn't matter if he earned it or not. It doesn't matter if it is legitimate or not. It doesn't matter if he lied about it to cage drinks.

True, legally it is ok to do except for the part about using it to get drinks. That is fraud and with the nature of the lie used land him in jail.

29 posted on 07/10/2012 12:06:29 PM PDT by Ratman83
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To: from occupied ga
If just one guy beats his ass he can claim self defense.....if more than one is present than the creep started it and there are (fill in the number) witnesses!!!
30 posted on 07/10/2012 12:09:43 PM PDT by ontap
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To: pietraynor
I know it's not the popular opinion, but the Supreme Court got this one right.

Unless people think it is "small government" to also convict and imprison people who lie on dating websites. Or claim to have been a starting QB in high school. Or....

31 posted on 07/10/2012 12:15:27 PM PDT by gdani
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To: pietraynor

Non of the guys I know who earned a medal (of any kind) would EVER wear it out of uniform.

IMO - Anyone wearing a medal out of uniform, most likely did NOT (justly) earn it. JFn Kerry comes to mind...


32 posted on 07/10/2012 12:20:31 PM PDT by jonno (Having an opinion is not the same as having the answer...)
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To: Da Coyote
Good, now I can forge a handicapped certificate and park wherever I want. It’s my free speech, ya see?

I believe the difference would be that using a handicapped parking spot would be using something that is not offered to you and is something you don't legally qualify for. If you faked your handicap and an establishment offered and told you to park in any spot, that would be "ok" (I don't agree with the morals, i'm just point out). Same thing with this guy. They offered him drinks. He didn't go in and get discounts b/c he said he was MOH. They offered. If the establishment was giving free drinks for MOH and he claimed it, then they could charge him with lying. There is a difference.

33 posted on 07/10/2012 12:20:52 PM PDT by justice14 ("stand up defend or lay down and die")
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To: pietraynor

Quite honestly, I don’t think any MOH awardee would wear the MOH in public, especially into a bar if it were not an official ceremony. Most of them won’t even tell you about their MOH nor the circumstances under which they were awarded our nation’s highest award for bravery. Think!!


34 posted on 07/10/2012 12:30:23 PM PDT by Dapper 26
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To: allmendream

awwww hey yeah... it was real good of you to point it out all nice like that


35 posted on 07/10/2012 12:52:35 PM PDT by Mr. K (OBAMA MUST BE STOPPED ROMNEY/GINGRICH)
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To: pietraynor

Free speech? Sure.

But say something negative about Obama and the death threats start pouring in.


36 posted on 07/10/2012 12:59:44 PM PDT by Arm_Bears (Journalists first; then lawyers.)
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To: pietraynor

So, it would then be free speech to maintain a website that people can enter the names and the BS stories they tell of these stolen valor thieves?


37 posted on 07/10/2012 1:28:25 PM PDT by CodeToad (uired to vote for a treaty.)
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To: Vesuvian
Under contract law, unilateral mistake does not void a contract- if I offer to give you $1,000 for your watch because I think it’s a genuine Rolex (it’s a cheap knockoff) and you accept it, I cannot win in court if I sue to get my money back.

LOL, not quite. If you can prove the watch was fraudulently represented as a Rolex by the seller in a way that reasonably prevented discovery, you can get back both your money plus damages, as well as get the punk thrown in jail.

Fraud is always actionable, it just hides behind various thresholds of process depending on the situation.

38 posted on 07/10/2012 1:29:59 PM PDT by Talisker (One who commands, must obey.)
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To: Portcall24
This last weekend I was in a downtown bar checking ID’s at the door. Because I'm fairly large and was standing by the door looking at people as they came in, the assumption was I was working. I was not. I was just screwing around and met a lot of nice people. And no, I didn't charge a cover fee, though I clearly could have.
39 posted on 07/10/2012 1:35:59 PM PDT by mad puppy (Not my first choice, but I will vote for Mitt over Obama any time.)
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To: pietraynor

Real heroes don’t wear their medals around their neck or anywhere on their person. I have known a few decorated military heroes and they do not brag about it. As a matter of fact they seldom speak of what they did or saw.


40 posted on 07/10/2012 1:36:15 PM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we engrave in marble. J Huett 1658)
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To: gdani

As long as this country awards high school diplomas, college degrees, and jobs to undeserving “protected groups”, I could care less what some loser wears to make him/herself feel important.

I agree; it is pathetic, but not illegal.


41 posted on 07/10/2012 1:41:35 PM PDT by kearnyirish2
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To: Vesuvian

If you misrepresented your cheap knock-off as a genuine Rolex and I used that assertion to place a value on the watch, then I most certainly could recover my money when the fraud was discovered. The contract was based on material misrepresentation, which nullifies it.


42 posted on 07/10/2012 1:48:57 PM PDT by IronJack (=)
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To: pietraynor
The Supreme Court made the right decision in this case. The Stolen Valor Act was unconstitutional because it imposed criminal penalties on people who did nothing more than lie about their past. People who do this are A-holes, but this is hardly anything remotely resembling criminal behavior. The SVA was effectively a pointless law by the time it got to the Supreme Court anyway, since the U.S. Justice Department had already given up on ever enforcing it in any practical sense.

Much as we might like to grant a special legal status to decorated military veterans, the reality is that there is no sound legal basis to impose criminal penalties in this kind of case. In order for something to be a crime there would have to be some kind of "harm" shown. A person who lies about his military awards is no different than someone who lies about being a dentist. If the person who lies about the military awards uses this information on a legal document and somehow gains monetarily, then he/she can be prosecuted for fraud under existing laws ... just as someone who lies about being a dentist and then proceeds to sell his/her services to people by giving examinations, doing root canal work, etc.

43 posted on 07/10/2012 1:50:25 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: pietraynor

The regulars look up. The guy’s a stranger. Around his neck he’s wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor. The regulars put down their shot glasses and crowd around the guy. They befriend the hero and buy him drinks. They’re honored by his company.

What a stupid article.
It is EXTREMELY hard to imagine that any real American Hero would walk around, especially into a bar wearing the Congressional Medal of Honor..
Second most normal folks would be immediately suspicious of this person.
Third if found that the person was wearing this medal and had not earned it he likely would be getting a free ride to the nearest hospital..........


44 posted on 07/10/2012 2:06:42 PM PDT by SECURE AMERICA (Where can I sign up for the New American Revolution and the Crusades 2012?)
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To: Talisker

That’s true, but I stated that I thought it was a Rolex and I was pulling a fast one on the seller.

Fraud would be a cause to avoid the contract in civil court as well as cause the fraudster to face criminal charges.


45 posted on 07/10/2012 2:31:26 PM PDT by Vesuvian
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To: IronJack

In my example I didn’t misrepresent anything. I saw you sitting there wearing what I thought was a Rolex and offered you $1,000. You, perplexed by why anyone would want your $5 watch, gladly accepted.


46 posted on 07/10/2012 2:35:52 PM PDT by Vesuvian
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To: pietraynor
As I recall, the name of the Medal of Honor is engraved with the recipient’s name. It can be passed down to survivors when the recipient dies or donated to a museum. It is illegal to sell a MOH.
47 posted on 07/10/2012 11:37:12 PM PDT by MasterGunner01 (11)
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