Stolen Valor Offensive But Not A Crime, Says Court

Everyone wants to be a hero at some point in their life but some people are even willing to lie and pretend they are. According to, 9th Circuit strikes down law that punished Pomona man who lied about Congressional Medal of Honor, a Pomona, California man who was criminally prosecuted for lying about being a war hero cannot not be punished criminally for lying about it. Instead, Alvarez can lie about being a war hero as much as anyone might lie about other personal things without being prosecuted.

The opinion, written by the head-line grabbing Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, compares lying about war-hero-status to lies about being stuck in traffic or not inhaling. In doing so, the panel has struck down a federal law that makes it a crime to lie about being a war hero. Essentially, the opinion suggests that we all lie and, as despicable as it may be, embellishing our list of accomplishments is a constitutional right.

One might expect that this case makes its way to the SCOTUS. Being a war hero is a big deal and nobody likes liars. In the meantime, Mr. Alvarez remains incarcerated for another offense.


The Johnson Criminal Law Group represents clients in state court including charges of perjury and fraud. Contact us about your case.