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Stolen Valor law dismissed as illegal and unconstitutional by California's 9th Circuit

Rick Strandloff making claims of being a decorated Marine during a 9/11 Memorial in 2008. He lied.
Rick Strandloff making claims of being a decorated Marine during a 9/11 Memorial in 2008. He lied.
AP Photo

Atlanta is not alone in her recent stolen valor woes involving Mickey Lloyd and his alleged embellishments of his own military service. On August 20th, the 9th circuit court in California, long known for its controversial rulings against often conservative and traditional causes, ruled Stolen Valor as unconstitutional.

When Xavier Alvarez, a member of the district’s water board in Pomona, California, decided to claim military bravery and medals such as the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor in the country, he stepped into a lie from which he could not hide. Alvarez continued on with these claims of bravery until, after being caught in his own web of deceptions, his lies were uncovered and he was finally charged with Stolen Valor.

Stolen Valor, a law passed in 2006 that makes it illegal to make false claims of military service and honorable military recognition, was dismissed by the 9th circuit as being “unconstitutional” after Alvarez fought to be able to continue the falsity thus retaining the rights of others like him to engage in the same.

In July of this year, a Colorado federal court also ruled that the law is illegal and unconstitutional.

Rick Strandlof claimed acts of bravery and selfless dedication are what garnered him his Purple Heart and Silver Star. As a Marine serving in Iraq, Strandlof told stories of harrowing experiences during his three tours; except for one thing - Rick Glen Strandlof was lying.

In an interview with 9Wants to Know, a Denver-based investigative news team, Strandlof admitted taking stories he’d heard from legitimate military service members and using them as his own.

Under this guise, Strandlof started his own organization called the Colorado Veterans Alliance. His organization claimed to advocate the rights of veterans which gained him some notoriety within primarily Democrat political circles in Denver. With his claims of bravado and medals, Strandlof attended anti-war/military rallies and campaigned against Bob Schaeffer who lost his bid for a senate seat two years ago.

Strandlof claims that while he spent mostly his own money on his organization, he “guesses” he may have received less than $1,000 from private donations. Although in the 9Wants to Know interview, Strandlof fully admitted his group as having “provided advice to several congressional campaigns” he claims to have received no money from any politicians.

And, according to Federal Judge Robert Blackburn, Strandlof, Alvarez, Mickey Lloyd, Richard Blumenthal and others have done no wrong. After having been charged with the federal crime of Stolen Valor, Blackburn dismissed the Strandlof case calling the law “unconstitutional” and “illegal”.

Blackburn stated that the law is unconstitutional because the government cannot show any compelling reason to restrict these types of claims.

This is not a victimless crime. If we must begin to wonder upon the constitutionality of the rights of those who falsely take versus the rights of those who have righteously given, then for whom have any of the truly brave fought or died for? Who fights for those who have given of themselves when no one else would or could? It is the responsibility of the families who are sometimes left behind to steward and protect the memories of those lost in war. They are the victims of Stolen Valor and their rights should matter more than that of a common liar... their rights are the compelling reason.


  • Anonymous 4 years ago

    "their rights are the compelling reason" BRAVO! YES! That is the reason. Too bad the 9'th sees military service membvers as bugs to be crushed. Liberals rule the courts nowadays and our fine military doesn't matter to them. creeps do.

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