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US court: Wearing unearned military medals is free speech

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Stolen Valor wearing medals is free speech

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday tossed out a veteran’s conviction for wearing military he didn’t earn, saying it was a form of protected by the Constitution.

A specially convened 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the First Amendment allows people to wear unearned military honors.

Elven Joe Swisher of Idaho was convicted in 2007 of violating the Stolen Valor Act, which made it a misdemeanor to falsely claim military accomplishments. President George W. Bush signed it into law in 2006, but the U.S. Supreme Court struck it down in 2012 as a violation of protections.

Investigators looked into Swisher’s military claims after he testified at the 2005 trial of a man charged with soliciting the murder of a federal judge. Swisher wore a Purple Heart on the witness stand.

Swisher testified that David Roland Hinkson offered him $10,000 to kill the federal judge presiding over Hinkson’s tax-evasion case. Swisher said Hinkson was impressed after Swisher boasted that he killed “many men” during the Korean War.

Prosecutors say Swisher enlisted in the Marine Corps a year after the Korean War ended but was never wounded in the line of duty. Swisher was honorably discharged in 1957, and discharge documents indicate that he didn’t receive any , according to the 9th Circuit ruling.

During his 2007 trial, prosecutors showed the jury a photograph of Swisher wearing several military and awards, including the Silver Star, Navy and Marine Corps Ribbon, Purple Heart, and the Navy and Marine CorpsCommendation with a Bronze “V.”

Swisher’s attorney Joseph Horras of Boise, Idaho, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Monday.

After the Stolen Valor Act was struck down, Congress passed a new law making it a crime to profit financially by lying about military service. President Barack Obama signed it in 2013.

After Swisher’s conviction, Congress removed a provision making it illegal to wear unearned .

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Oh hell no so you are telling me that it’s perfectly legal for someone to disrespect our flag and now its legal for any civilian to wear military uniforms and medals ? Ok well it should be legal for our vets to commit acts of violence against those who disrespect our nation and our military

  2. I could slap the crap out of this fat pretender and not feel one ounce of remorse or regret! Just another example of what’s happened to this country.

  3. Good Then: Now I will buy myself a stretch limo with American Flags on the bow, and place Presidential Seals on the plates & Bumpers, then drive around the country Give me a BREAK !!!

  4. Nothing says “I’m a bully piece of worthless shit” like threatening to attack some half wit over wearing a uniform. If you homo’s are so tough why can’t you defeat a bunch of cave dwelling goat fuckers? Everyone is a hard ass with a gun and 20 deep group of asshole friends, but in the real world you are nothing more than bully pussies!

  5. But just think jakeoff us bullypussys over the years gave the right to a big pile of shit like you to speak english you ungrateful shitbag.

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