Judge: Law penalizing fake heroes unconstitutional

A judge in Denver has ruled that a federal law making it illegal to lie about being a war hero is unconstitutional because it violates free speech.

First Amendment News

July 16, 2010


DENVER —The ruling, made public Friday, came in the case of Rick Glen Strandlof, a Colorado man who claimed he was an ex-Marine wounded in Iraq and had received the Purple Heart and Silver Star. The military had no record that Strandlof served.

Strandlof was charged with violating the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it illegal to falsely claim to have won a military medal. The judge dismissed the case, saying the government hadn’t shown it has a compelling reason to restrict that type of statement.

Prosecutors say they haven’t decided whether to appeal. Strandlof’s lawyer didn’t immediately return a call.