United States v. Perelman, No. 10-10571 (9th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Defendant pleaded guilty for violating 18 U.S.C. 704(a), which prohibited the unauthorized wearing of military medals, where defendant fraudulently obtained a Purple Heart and wore it in public. On appeal, defendant challenged the constitutionality of the statute. The court held that defendant's overbreadth challenge failed because a person violated the unauthorized wearing portion of section 704(a) only if he or she had an intent to deceive. The court rejected defendant's argument that United States v. Alvarez dictated that section 704(a) was unconstitutional. The court held that, under United States v. O'Brien, the government had a compelling interest in preventing the intentionally deceptive wearing of medals; those interests were unrelated to the suppression of free expression because section 704(a) did not prevent the expression of any particular message or viewpoint; and section 704(a) promoted the goals of maintaining the integrity of the military's medals and preventing the fraudulent wearing of military medals. Therefore, the court rejected defendant's facial First Amendment challenge.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on August 28, 2012.