Google used Apache Harmony for their class library, they didn't implement it from scratch.
If people in the Open Source community really think it's just fine and dandy to go after someone for patent violations when they use Apache-Licensed software but not GPLv2 licensed software, I don't know what kind of principals they're basing that on...
Google didn't take any "liberties" with Java's code and license, they implemented a *brand new* virtual machine which doesn't run Java bytecode at all (Dalvik), a Java->Dalvik translator, and ran the Apache Harmony Java class libraries through the translator.
But even if they did actually implement a new JVM from scratch, (like, say, GCC did with GCJ), I still don't see how you can say that they don't deserve any sympathy from the open source crowd.
I can see no argument that they deserve to be "nailed" for what they did, or even for what they might have done but didn't actually.