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“Thou shalt not steal” is the eighth of the ten commandments, and perhaps the most dishonorable theft imaginable is stolen valor. Two Montana men who thought they could get away with lying about military service got their butts handed to them in epic fashion by Cascade County District Judge Greg Pinski.

The two men dirt bags were appearing before the judge for separate unrelated cases in which they had violated the terms of their suspended or deferred sentences. Ryan Patrick Morris, 28, and Troy Allan Nelson, 33, had claimed they were military veterans in order to get their cases transferred to a Veterans Court, in order to get their sentences reduced.


But after their lies were busted, the two were ordered before the judge to receive new sentences, and get some particularly awesome punishment for lying about military service.


Per USA Today, For the original charge of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs, Nelson was sentenced to 5 years in the Montana State Prison, with 2 years suspended.

For the original charge of felony burglary, Morris was sentenced to the Montana State Prison for 10 years, with 3 suspended.


But the judge had something special in mind for Nelson and Morris. In order to be eligible for parole, the defendants were ordered to:

  • Personally hand-write the names of all 6,756 Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Personally hand-write the obituaries of the 40 Montanans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Personally hand-write letters of apology identifying themselves as having lied about military service to the American Legion, AMVETS, the Disabled American Veterans, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Both men were also ordered to complete 441 hours of community service, one hour for each Montana citizen killed in combat since the Korean War.


And the pièce de résistance, the coup de gras? Every year during the suspended portions of each of their sentences (two for Nelson, three for Morris), both cretins must stand at the Montana Veterans Memorial for eight hours on each Memorial and Veterans Day wearing a sign that says, “I am a liar. I am not a veteran. I stole valor. I have dishonored all veterans.”

Judge PInski told them, “There are certain people — shameful people — who have not put their lives on the line for this country who portray themselves as having done so.” Pinski added that their behavior was “abhorrent to the men and women who have actually served our country.”

I want to make sure that my message is received loud and clear by these two defendants,” Pinski said. “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.”


While the men weren’t charged specifically with stolen valor, Judge Pinski cited a Montana Supreme Court case that justifies taking stolen valor into account when imposing the sentence. In addition, he cited other Montana cases where similar punishments to the “placard portion” were used.

USA Today reported both men apologized for lying to the court and expressed their regret for any harm they caused to members of the U.S. military.


There should be consequences for bad behavior, and too often in this day and age, that doesn’t seem to be the case.  God bless Judge Pinski for doing the right thing.



Nine Line is an American Clothing Company with American made Apparel and Accessories- Veteran Owned and Operated

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