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Wearing unearned medal can be a crime; free-speech claim rejected

November 1, 2014

Lying about receiving a military medal is constitutionally protected, but there’s no right to carry the lie a step further by wearing a combat decoration that hasn’t been earned, a federal appeals court said Wednesday.

The difference, said a divided panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is that lying is speech, but wearing a medal is conduct.

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