Supreme Court Strikes Down Stolen Valor Law

By: CBS/AP (Posted by Kion Hudson)
By: CBS/AP (Posted by Kion Hudson)

(CBS/AP)-- The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a federal law making it a crime to lie about having received the Medal of Honor and other prized military awards.

The court voted 6-3 Thursday in favor of Xavier Alvarez, a former local elected official in California who falsely claimed he was a decorated war veteran.

Alvarez had pleaded guilty to violating a 2006 law that was adopted with the U.S. at war in Afghanistan and Iraq and aimed at people making phony claims of heroism in battle.

The court, in a judgment written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ordered that his conviction be thrown out.

Should lying about military medals be a crime?

"We're obviously very pleased with the decision, as is our client," Alvarez's original federal public defender, Brianna Fuller, said in an e-mail. "While we have utmost respect for our men and women in uniform, we've always believed that we honor them best by protecting the 'precepts of the Constitution for which they fought,' as Justice Kennedy said in this morning's opinion."

Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, said he had no comment.

In February, CBS News correspondent Chip Reid reported that Congress is already working on a replacement that would make it a crime if you lie about a military award for the purpose of earning a profit. And, Reid noted, any piece of legislation intended to protect military heroes flies through Congress.

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