Courts

Nov 1, 2010 3:05 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Lawyers in Stolen Valor case: Some lies have merit

DENVER (AP) - Lawyers for a California man who pleaded guilty to lying about getting a military medal are arguing that falsehoods sometimes have value.

The case is one of two challenging the federal Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to falsely claim to be a war hero.

In the California case, an appeals court ruled the law unconstitutional. Prosecutors asked the court to reconsider. Lawyers for the defendant, Xavier Alvarez of Pomona, Calif., filed documents last week arguing against another review. They cite the 17th century writer John Milton and the 19th century philosopher John Stuart Mill to argue that falsehoods can improve public debate by spurring the search for truth.

Another challenge to the law is pending in Colorado.

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