I am hereby going to discuss
about the case on United States VS. Fields, and will give my verdict on this
case. This is the case which is related to the Stolen Valor Act which
conflicted with freedom of speech. This law prevents unauthorized wear,
manufacture, or sale of any military decorations and medals. In addition, it is a
federal misdemeanor to falsely represent
oneself as having received any U.S. military decoration or medal. If convicted,
defendants might have been imprisoned for up to six months to one year.
Abel fields falsely claimed
that he had received a purple heart while serving in the military. The Purple
Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to
those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917. Abel
falsified the information that he served in the military. The truth is that he
had never served in the military. The stolen valor act came into play in 2006.
The act states that it is a crime to make false claims that you have received
military medals or awards. Since fields make a false claim, and he was found
guilty, he faced a year in prison. However, fields believed that he should not
be convicted due to the fact of freedom of speech. He claimed that his
imprisonment violated his First Amendment rights.
Field’s prosecutor argued
that Field has every right to freedom of speech. His information has not
damaged anything. His false speech should be protected as long as it does not
cause harm. If Field is prosecuted through Stolen Valor Act, it would set a
dangerous precedent for future laws. They added that false speech is protected
by the First Amendment, and the act is constitutional.
In the precedent, New York
Times Co. v. Sullivan and Texas v. Johnson both case was involved on the
content of the speech which caused restrictions on free speech. In New York
Times Co. v. Sullivan, the Court unanimously gave verdict in favor of the
newspaper saying that the right to publish all statements is protected under
the First Amendment. In Texas vs Johnson also, the court ruled that Johnson had
the right to free speech when he burned his flag. Government does not have
right to restrict person’s speech regardless of the content.
After reviewing carefully in
the case United States vs Fields and the precedent cases New York Times Co. v.
Sullivan and Texas v. Johnson, I have reached the verdict that every person
should have right to speech as long as it does not harm anybody. Therefore, Abdel
Fields be declared innocent and the fines and imprisonment have been dropped