Stolen Valor Act
Radio Commentary, 90.7, 91.7 New Life FM, January 9, 2015 – By Sue Ella Deadwyler
On December 20, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 that increased penalties for unlawfully wearing, manufacturing, or selling military decorations and medals and making it a federal misdemeanor to falsely represent oneself as having received a U.S. military award.
On June 28, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down that law, voting 6-3 that lying about a military award is not a crime, but is protected speech under the First Amendment. So, Congress passed the 2013 law making it a federal offense to falsely claim military heroism in order to get money, property, or other tangible benefits.
On November 25, 2014, Representative Terry Rogers pre-filed H.B. 12, to create the Georgia Military Service Integrity and Preservation Act, and establish a state-level criminal offense of fraudulent representation of military service. His bill explains the crime as follows:
“Any person who, with the intent of securing a tangible benefit for himself or herself, knowingly and falsely [claims in writing or orally] to be a military veteran or a recipient of a military decoration shall be guilty of fraudulent representation of military service.” Violators could be charged with a misdemeanor, fined $1,000 and sent to prison for 12 months.
If this bill passes and becomes law, the required state penalties would be added to federal penalties required by the Stolen Valor Act that passed Congress. Continue reading