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Political Editors / Sep. 3, 2019

Montana Judge Hammers Convicts for Stolen Valor

Two felons will be forced to wear signs saying, "I Stole Valor" — a fitting punishment.

A district judge in Montana recently meted out sentences to two men who were convicted on a number of charges, including for having claimed veteran status while neither had ever served. For these stolen valor convictions Judge Greg Pinski got creative in sentencing Troy Nelson and Ryan Morris. As Time magazine reports, “Pinski ordered that Nelson and Morris must:

  • Handwrite the names of the 6,756 U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq

  • Handwrite the obituaries of the 40 Montanans who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

  • Serve 441 hours of community service

  • Write letters of apology to multiple veteran organizations

  • Attend the Montana Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day and Veterans Day every year during the suspended portions of their sentences for 8 hours wearing a placard that reads "I am a Liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored veterans.”

Judge Pinski explained his sentencing, stating, “I want to make sure that my message is received loud and clear by these two defendants. You’ve been nothing but disrespectful in your conduct. You certainly have not respected the Army. You’ve not respected the veterans. You’ve not respected the court. And you haven’t respected yourselves.”

The Times further notes, “In 2016 Morris claimed to have completed seven combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Morris told the courts he suffered from PTSD and had to have his hip replaced after being injured by an IED, AP reports. Nelson had managed to enroll in the veterans court program before it was discovered he was not a veteran.”

The two men were also convicted of felony drug possession and will serve time in prison as well. After serving their prison sentences Nelson and Morris will be required to complete Pinski’s sentencing requirements before being considered for parole. How fitting.

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