United States v. Alvarez

Amicus curiae brief of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers in support of respondent Xavier Alvarez. 

Brief filed: 01/20/2012


United States v. Alvarez

United States Supreme Court; Case No. 11-210


The Stolen Valor Act of 2005’s false claims provision, 18 U.S.C. §704(b), which makes it a crime when anyone "falsely represents himself or herself, * * * verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the Armed Forces of the United States,” is constitutionally overbroad because it punishes speech protected under the First Amendment such as innocent mistakes, harmless misrepresentations, purely private speech, jokes, satire, and dramatic claims. Moreover, it lacks a mens rea requirement and the supposed harm it protects against is not supported by a substantial government interest; as such, it is a classic example of federal overcriminalization.

Featured Products


Michael V. Schafler and Jeffery M. Chemerinsky, Caldwell Leslie & Proctor PC, Los Angeles, CA.