Now that the Supreme Court has emasculated the Stolen Valor Act on the grounds that falsely claiming to be a war hero is protected speech, inquiring minds want to know, what about impersonating a police officer? Specifically, a former deputy sheriff claiming to be a deputy sheriff when pulled over for speeding said that the Virginia police impersonation statute under which he was charged was facially unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The federal district court said no, and two out of three judges on the Fourth Circuit panel agreed today:
The First Amendment is a central and essential part of our constitutional life. For that reason, it becomes especially important to identify those instances when free speech values are truly implicated and those when they are not. Falsely identifying oneself as a policeman in order to get out of a speeding ticket is simply not the kind of expressive conduct the Fram- ers of our first and one of our greatest amendments had in mind. Accordingly, the judgment of the district court is affirmed.
Here's the opinion (PDF).