The law, which made it a felony, to claim an un-earned military medal, was used by prosecutors to charge Alvarez for statements he made in 2007 as a member of the Claremont-based Three Valleys Municipal Water District board of directors. Alvarez faced jail time and fines for violating the law.
The court ruled the law to be unconstitutional. From the LA Times:
"If false factual statements are unprotected, then the government can prosecute not only the man who tells tall tales of winning the congressional Medal of Honor, but also the JDater who falsely claims he's Jewish or the dentist who assures you it won't hurt a bit," Kozinski wrote in defense of the 1st Amendment.I'd argued back in 2008 that the prosecution was a waste of time.
"Phrases such as 'I'm working late tonight, hunny,' 'I got stuck in traffic' and 'I didn't inhale' could all be made into crimes," Kozinski argued. "Without the robust protections of the 1st Amendment, the white lies, exaggerations and deceptions that are an integral part of human intercourse would become targets of censorship."