A federal appeals court has tossed out an Idaho veteran’s conviction in a “stolen valor” case. The judges ruled that the First Amendment protects a person’s right to wear a military medal even if that person did not earn it.
Here’s the full story from AP:
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court on Monday tossed out a veteran’s conviction for wearing military medals he didn’t earn, saying it was a form of free speech 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 free speech 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.
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