Elven Joe Swisher, a former Marine veteran, persuaded a federal appeals court on Monday to overturn his conviction for stolen valor for wearing a Purple Heart medal he didn’t earn.
An 11-judge panel of the 9th Circuit of appeals said that a portion of federal law that made it a crime to wear an unearned medal violated his freedom of speech.
The panel said that wearing an unearned medal conveys a message — which is protected by the 1st Amendment. The decision overturned the conviction of Marine veteran Elven Joe Swisher.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned another portion of the act that made it a crime to lie about having won a military medal. Since Swisher’s conviction, the law no longer penalizes people for wearing unearned medals.
Elven Swisher, you were caught wearing a Purple Heart — an award you didn’t earn. You know should have done the honorable thing by taking the punishment and moving on, but you decided to fight it because you said it violated your 1st Amendment rights and the 11- judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court agreed with you.
You lied about earning a Purple Heart so that non-profits would give you free stuff; you should be ashamed of yourself because as a veteran, you should know what that award stands for.
I hope you can look at yourself in the mirror and sleep at night knowing you claimed to have earned an award that many of us never wanted in the first place. The day I earned mine, I was in a ball of fire burning alive as 3 of my brothers were trying to exit the Humvee. I was inside staring into the white eyes of my brother who was killed by that IED. All 5 of us earned that award that day and 2 of them are no longer with us; so, please tell me why the 1st Amendment should save your sorry pathetic ass? You have brought shame and dishonor onto all the service members who have earned their Purple Heart and on the United State Marine Corps.
To the 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals,
Thank you for agreeing with Elven Swisher and slapping all service members across the face who have earned the Purple Heart. Also, thank you teaching our youth that they no longer have to work hard, have integrity, and that they no longer have to stand up for what’s right; they can just claim to have done honorable acts without actually doing them.