Politics => Political Discussions => Topic started by: Zafer Kaya on February 23, 2012, 12:51:44 PM

Title: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Zafer Kaya on February 23, 2012, 12:51:44 PM
It says that if you lie about receiving a military honor when you didn't actually get one, you can go to jail for six months.

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments as to whether this violates the First Amendment.  Can anyone come up with a reason why this should be ruled Constitutional?  Because I honestly can't.

I'm not overly happy about it, but I could get down with a civil penalty (ie. fine) in certain situations.  At least from a legal perspective.  But a criminal penalty just seems really, really stupid.

Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Kwyjibo on February 23, 2012, 01:19:10 PM
Is there any way it could be argued as perjury?

I don't know what the legal punishment would be.  My guess is that anybody that would do such a thing has probably been punished enough by life.
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Markalot on February 23, 2012, 01:38:08 PM
What about impersonating a doctor or another professional?  I am guessing but those probably fall under endangering someone else?

I guess I have to agree, this seems unconstitutional.
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: dirk on February 23, 2012, 01:39:53 PM
There is no way in hell this is constitutional.  The idea that I can say that I was a hockey player, won the world series, was president of the US, served as a part of Seal Team 6 and killed Osama Bin Laden, and won a Nobel Peace Prize is perfectly fine, but if I say I won a medal I am suddenly a criminal is simply ludicrous.  Now if you lie about it try to and get government benefits or something like that, then yes, that should be (and is under currently law) illegal.  But just saying "I won a purple heart" when you didn't shouldn't not be illegal.  

Lying should not be illegal unless it is perjury or fraud.  It should make you an asshat, but not a criminal.

MaL - Impersonating a doctor is only illegal if you are trying to perform medicine.  You can freely tell anyone you want you are a doctor as long as you don't then try to do something only a doctor can do.
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Predot on February 23, 2012, 01:46:04 PM
Crap. I guess it's time to excise that section of my resume where I exagerrate the commendations I received during my service in the KISS Army.

Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Zafer Kaya on February 23, 2012, 02:30:11 PM
Is there any way it could be argued as perjury?

It would not be perjury because it applies to things not said under oath.  If you were under oath in court and you lied about your military commendations it could be perjury if that was material to the case.  But that would apply to lies about anything.  Which I think is what Dirk is getting at, and I agree. 

As Dirk noted, people lie all the time.  And this guy did indeed claim he was a member of the Detroit Red Wings, and that he got shot rescuing diplomats, and all sorts of outlandish stuff.  But he's only getting in trouble for claiming he won a Bronze Star.

Lying about military medals should be like lying about anything else.  If it's perjury, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, libel, slander, or whatever it gets prosecuted.  If you lie about a military medal and it doesn't fall into one of those categories, then it just makes you a liar.

The thing with impersonating a doctor is, it's not actually against the law.  It's against the law to practice medicine without a license.  So if you attempted to give medical advice that would be illegal.  If you rented an office and pretended to be a gynecologist you could be sued for assault because you touched them against their will (or under false pretense).  If you took money, its fraud.  But if you try to impress a date by telling her/him you're a doctor or whatever, that's not against the law.

However, because there are certain professions like doctor, lawyer, or whatever where a governmental license is needed to do something... I might be okay with a civil fine because those lies carry a bit more weight and if everyone lies about their licenses it weakens the protective value of the license.  I'm against it, but I could deal with it.

And if that were extended to military commendations which are not quite licenses but are tied to government and are (or should be) treated with respect especially where it might qualify you for veteran's treatment because you are otherwise not even a veteran... well, it would annoy me quite a bit but I could just barely grit my teeth and deal with it.

But this is way beyond that, and we're not talking about a civil fine, we're talking about jail. 
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Juliana on February 24, 2012, 11:26:40 PM
I don't even think it warrants a civil fine. 
It's somebody lying to somebody else. 
It's not for monetary gain, there are already laws avainst that

It's like the guy down at the bar telling you about the fish that was THIS BIG but it got away
The fishing police aren't going to come get him

or will they?

Does it suck?  Sure.  Is it pretty crappy?  Um, yeah. 
Is it something that the offender should go to jail for?  Nope.
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Kwyjibo on February 27, 2012, 08:55:14 AM
Wait, I thought you were saying he lied to GET a medal, not lying that he had one... then hell no, that's the dumbest thing I ever heard.
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Dan on February 27, 2012, 02:30:32 PM
Eddie Izzard:
You have Murder One, Murder Two. There can be a difference in the level of murder.
So perjury's the same. Perjury One is saying there was no Holocaust when millions died in it. Perjury Nine is when you said you shagged someone when you didn't.

Eddie has a point, and it seems that is what the issue is here: can we lie about one thing and it be civil while we can lie about something else and it's criminal? If there are different kinds of murder...then perhaps?
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Zafer Kaya on February 27, 2012, 03:40:59 PM
I don't know.  It's going to be close.  The attorney for Alvarez was ridiculously awful. 

At one point, Sotomayer kind of lobbed him a softball devil's advocate question that would give him a chance to make his argument, and somehow instead he conceded the point.  The guy made Jerry Sandusky's attorney look competent.

Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: va-vacious on May 09, 2012, 09:56:56 AM
so whatever happened in this case?
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Zafer Kaya on May 09, 2012, 10:03:56 AM
Still waiting on a ruling.
Title: Re: Stolen Valor Act
Post by: Ella Minnow Pea on June 28, 2012, 10:38:39 AM
Ruling was today, which I only know because I was waiting on the Healthcare ruling. Unconstitutional, but could be rewritten to be so.