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Court Says Unearned Military Medals Can Be Worn by Anyone
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Photo credit: Karen Barefoot/FreeImages

Summary: Wearing military medals and lying about earning military medals is no longer considered an illegal act by a federal appeals court.

A U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that not being able to wear an unearned military medal violates freedom of speech rights. An Idaho military veteran is now able to wear a military medal that he didn’t earn. Doing this used to violate the Stolen Valor Act.

  
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Veteran Elven Joe Swisher was able to convince the federal appeals court that wearing the medal conveys a message, which is a protected right by the First Amendment. Swisher is a former Marine who has no problem wearing a medal he didn’t earn.

Suffolk Law School Supports Free Speech and The Troops

The Stolen Valor Act was signed into law in 2006 by President George W. Bush. In 2007, Swisher was convicted of violating it, which led to a misdemeanor charge of falsely claiming military accomplishments. Swisher’s history was questioned after appearing on the testimony stand in a 2005 murder-for-hire trial while wearing a Purple Heart medal. Investigators discovered that Swisher never earned a Purple Heart during the Korean War like he was claiming. He also possesses several other military medals and awards that are assumed to be unearned.

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The U.S. Supreme Court decided in 2012 that lying about winning a military medal is no longer a crime either. With the decisions by both courts overturning the original law, it’s now legal to lie about earning military medals and wearing medals that are unearned but still illegal to profit off the two acts.



Source: http://www.usnews.com/news/offbeat/articles/2016-01-11/us-court-wearing-unearned-military-medals-is-free-speech

Photo credit: Karen Barefoot/FreeImages



 

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