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 illegal wear, manufacture,
or sale of any military decorations and medals. In addition, it is a crime to
falsely represent of receiving any military decoration or medal. If convicted,
defendants might have been prisoned 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 military award in the name of the President to
those injured or killed while serving. Abel falsified the information that he
served in the military. The truth is that he had never served in the military. 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
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 negative
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 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