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Appeals Court Upholds Stolen Valor Act: Ivan Moreno of the Associated Press reports the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the Stolen Valor Act is constitutional. The ruling reverses a district court's decision that the Stolen Valor Act violates the First Amendment, saying the U.S. government had not presented any compelling reason to restrict that specific type of speech. That case out of Colorado involves Rick Strandlof, who founded a veterans group and said he had received the Purple Heart and Silver Star. He was charged with violating the law in 2009 and his case was later dismissed by a federal judge. The opinion from the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is here. The U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue in February in the case of United States v. Alvarez, after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law. CJLF's brief with the Legion of Valor for that case is here

NY Bar Association Proposes Removing Some Felonies From Public Records: Russ Buettner of The New York Times reports the New York Bar Association's proposal to create a way to remove some nonviolent felony convictions, under certain conditions, from a person's public record was approved Friday by the association's House of Delegates. The change would allow misdemeanor convictions and a single nonviolent felony conviction under certain circumstances to be sealed with the approval of a judge. An offender would have to wait five years after a misdemeanor conviction or eight years after a felony conviction, without committing any crimes during the waiting period, before the record could be sealed. Sealed records would become public again if an offender committed another crime.

First Trial Under Racial Justice Act: Paul Woolverton of The Fayetteville Observer reports the first hearing in North Carolina under the Racial Justice Act began today for Marcus Reymond Robinson, who was sentenced to death for robbing and killing a 17-year-old boy in 1991. Robinson's Racial Justice Act claim says prosecutors dismissed half of the black jurors and only 15 percent of the non-black jurors. The victim's stepmother said the court system wasn't racist, but Robinson was. He is black, and his victim is white. She said a witness testified at the trial that Robinson said he was going to "kill a whitey."

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