Wrongly Convicted Database Record


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Xavier Alvarez



False Statement (including Stolen Valor Act)


"3 years probation, 416 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine"

Years Imprisoned:

Year Crime:


Year Convicted:

Year Cleared:


U.S. State or Country of Crime:

California - Federal Case

County or Region of Crime:

Los Angeles

City of Crime:

Los Angeles


Judicially Exonerated

Summary of Case:

"Xavier Alvarez was wrongly convicted of violating the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 for falsely claiming at a public hearing that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor after being wounded in action as a Marine. He was charged with violating the federal Stolen Valor Act. Alvarez admitted lying about being awarded the Medal of Honor, but argued his speech was protected by the First Amendment. The trial judge rejected his defense on the basis the First Amendment doesn't apply to statements the speaker knows are false. With no defense to present to a jury, Alvarez conditionally pled guilty to the charge, while reserving the right to challenge the law on Constitutional grounds. Alvarez was sentenced to 3 years probation, 416 hours of community service and a $5,000 fine. In 2010 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Alvarez's conviction and the U.S. Attorney's Office appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On June 28, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's ruling by a 6-3 vote in holding the Stolen Valor Act's prohibition against making false statements of having been awarded a military medal violated the First Amendment. (See, United States v. Alvarez, 567 U.S. ___ (2012))"

Conviction Caused By:

The trial judge improperly applied the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 to Alvarez's protected speech.

Innocence Proved By:

"On June 28, 2012 the United States Supreme Court affirmed the Ninth Circuit's ruling overturning Alvarez's conviction by a vote of 6 to 3."

Defendant Aided By:

Compensation Awarded:

Was Perpetrator Identified?

Age When Imprisoned:

Age When Released:



Information Source 1:

"Lying About Earning War Medals Is Protected Speech, Justices Rule, By James Dao (staff), The New York Times, June 28, 2012"

Information Location 1:


Information Source 2:

"Court tosses law about false claims on medals; Pomona man's conviction overturned, By Jesse J. Holland (AP writer), Pasadena Star-News, June 28, 2012"

Information Location 2:


Information Source 3:

"United States v. Alvarez, 567 U.S. ___ (6-28-2012)"

Information Location 3:


Information Source 4:

"United States v. Alvarez, 617 F.3d 1198 (9th Cir. 2010)"

Information Location 4:

Information Source 5:

Information Location 5:

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Book Information:

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Innocents Database Created and Maintained by Hans Sherrer innocents@forejustice.org

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