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Nonmilitary court's stolen valor ruling overturned

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Nonmilitary court's stolen valor ruling overturned


Post by Tiredretiredlawyer »

https://www.militarytimes.com/veterans/ ... valor-case
Montana high court cancels parole conditions in stolen valor case

Former Montana Eighth District Court Judge Greg Pinski had forced Ryan Patrick Morris and Troy Allan Nelson in 2019 to conduct a series of acts of apology in order to be eligible for parole.

In order for both to be eligible for parole, Pinski had mandated that every year during the three-year suspended sentences both men received, the two had to stand at the Montana Veterans Memorial for eight hours on each Memorial and Veterans Day wearing a sign that reads, “I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans.”

The state high court struck down the sentencing condition on Wednesday.

Morris had received 10 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation for felony burglary, while Nelson got five years for a drug possession conviction.

Neither of the men had been officially charged with stolen valor.

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Re: Nonmilitary court's stolen valor ruling overturned


Post by Maybenaut »

The newspaper articles say that these guys weren’t charged with “stolen valor,” but don’t really explain the basis for the ruling. I looked it up on the Montana Supreme Court website, and it doesn’t really explain it either, other than to say the defendants allege the condition is unlawful and the State apparently conceded.

There are a bunch of articles about these guys. One defendant falsely claimed he suffered from PTSD because of an injury by an IED, apparently in an effort to reduce his sentence. The other successfully (temporarily) had his case transferred to Veterans’ Court (which I believe is some sort of diversion program), until it was discovered he never served.

I have mixed feelings about this. The Supreme Court has said that to punish a person for stolen valor, there has to be some sort of tangible gain, and it’s not enough that they just lied about their service. Personally, I think both of these cases qualified, or would have, if that’s what they had been charged with. But even if they weren’t actually charged with some stolen valor offense, they still lied to the court in order to obtain some benefit. On the other hand, a person should be punished for what they were convicted of. So, no sympathy for either defendant, but no heartache with the decision, either.

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