Stolen Valor and Free Speech
March 22, 2008
This is likely to really piss off a lot of readers. I know it did me. Everytime I read about some idiot who lies and claims to be a veteran and who claims that they have received medals for valorious action in combat, I want to throttle them. How dare they claim to have served, when so many brave men and women have bravely served and these cowards are using their lies to further their own careers or gain attention that they wouldn’t get otherwise (and deservedly so, I might add). We’ve talked about this in the past, but this particular one, because this asshole is screaming “Freedom of Speech,” really gets me fired up.
A member of a local water board in California was asked to say a few things about himself, last summer at one of their meetings. This is what Xavier Alvarez, decided to tell him fellow board members.
“I’m a retired marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around.”
Of course it was quickly discovered, that the only thing true about what Alvarez told his fellow board members was the last three words. He was NOT a Marine and he sure as hell never was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Xaviar Alvarez is a bold face liar and according to the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, that makes him a criminal as well. The Stolen Valor Act of 2005, was passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate and became law on December 6, 2006.
SEC. 3. ENHANCED PROTECTION OF MEANING OF MILITARY DECORATIONS AND MEDALS.
(a) Expansion of General Criminal Offense- Subsection (a) of section 704 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking `manufactures, or sells’ and inserting `purchases, attempts to purchase, solicits for purchase, mails, ships, imports, exports, produces blank certificates of receipt for, manufactures, sells, attempts to sell, advertises for sale, trades, barters, or exchanges for anything of value’.
(b) Establishment of Criminal Offense Relating to False Claims About Receipt of Decorations and Medals- Such section 704 is further amended–
(1) by redesignating subsection (b) as subsection (c);
(2) by inserting after subsection (a) the following:
`(b) False Claims About Receipt of Military Decorations or Medals- Whoever falsely represents himself or herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States, any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration, or medal, or any colorable imitation of such item shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than six months, or both.’; and
(3) in paragraph (1) of subsection (c), as redesignated by paragraph (1) of this subsection, by inserting `or (b)’ after `subsection (a)’.
(c) Enhanced Penalty for Offenses Involving Certain Other Medals- Such section 704 is further amended by adding at the end the following:
`(d) Enhanced Penalty for Offenses Involving Certain Other Medals- If a decoration or medal involved in an offense described in subsection (a) or (b) is a distinguished-service cross awarded under section 3742 of title 10, a Navy cross awarded under section 6242 of title 10, an Air Force cross awarded under section 8742 of section 10, a silver star awarded under section 3746, 6244, or 8746 of title 10, a Purple Heart awarded under section 1129 of title 10, or any replacement or duplicate medal for such medal as authorized by law, in lieu of the punishment provided in the applicable subsection, the offender shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.’.
That’s spelled out pretty clearly to me and I sure it is as well to our readers. Alvarez is scheduled to go on trial next month in Federal Court in Los Angeles for violating the Stolen Valor Act. As the prosecutor in the case, Craig H. Missakian says, the whole rationale of the Stolen Valor Act is to protect the reputation and meaning of military decorations and medals.
Alvarez continues to serve on the Water District Board in his city in California. He also continues to receive his pay for each meeting, as well as health insurance. The board has censured him as well for another lie, when he put a woman, whom he falsely claimed to be his wife, on his health insurance plan. They claim that they’re powerless to remove him from the office he holds. The water district board’s president, Bob Kuhn has made this statement.
“There’s no question he’s pathological,” said Mr. Kuhn, as he recalled some of the things Alvarez has claimed. “He’s had three helicopter accidents. He’s been shot 16 times. These are all fabrications.”
“We’ve had 40 or 50 veterans parade before our board, asking him to publically apologize,” Mr. Kuhn said. “He has refused to do that. With that said, I have no problem with the prosecution.”
If found guilty, Alvarez is facing the possibility of 2 years in prison and a fine of $200,000. He is being represented by a federal public defender and has filed a motion to dismiss the case. The motion claims that he is protected by the First Amendment giving citizens the right to free speech. Experts on Freedom of Speech feel that his motion is very likely to not succeed. Alvarez was contacted by media to provide a statement. He didn’t respond to that request and his attorney refused to comment, saying that was her office policy.
Shortly after his indictment, Alvarez did make a statement to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. He claimed that his words were taken out of context, until he was informed that his words, as everything said at the board meetings, were recorded and on tape. He then changed his story and said this:
“I was just nervous, saying anything,” Alvarez said. “There’s no truth to that. What harm did that do to them?”
Apparently, Alvarez, has no clue as to what it takes to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Apparently he has no sense of the courage and bravery our Troops display every day and how his actions, his words and his nonchalance about what he’s done, is almost as bad as spitting on one of these brave Heroes. How dare he do that and then claim freedom of speech. I hope he receives punishment to the fullest extent of the law. He deserves to have to pay a $200,000 and sit in prison for 2 years and really think about what he’s done.