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March 27, 2011

Ninth Circuit Opinion 03-27-11

The petition for panel rehearing and rehearing en banc is DENIED.

BACKGROUND

Defendant-Appellant Xavier Alvarez conditionally pleaded guilty to one count of falsely verbally claiming to have received the Congressional Medal of Honor, in violation of the Stolen Valor Act (the Act), 18 U.S.C. § 704(b), (c),1 reserving his right to appeal the Act’s constitutionality.

Xavier Alvarez won a seat on the Three Valley Water District Board of Directors in 2007. On July 23, 2007, at a joint meeting with a neighboring water district board, newly-seated Director Alvarez arose and introduced himself, stating “I’m a retired marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001. Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I’m still around.” Alvarez has never been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, nor has he spent a single day as a marine or in the service of any other branch of the United States armed forces. In short, with the exception of “I’m still around,” his selfintroduction was nothing but a series of bizarre lies.

Alvarez’s misrepresentations during the 2007 water district board meeting were only the latest in a long string of fabrica- UNITED STATES v. ALVAREZ 11851 tions. Apparently, Alvarez makes a hobby of lying about himself to make people think he is “a psycho from the mental ward with Rambo stories.” The summer before his election to the water district board, a woman informed the FBI about Alvarez’s propensity for making false claims about his military past. Alvarez told her that he won the Medal of Honor for rescuing the American Ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis, and that he had been shot in the back as he returned to the embassy to save the American flag. Alvarez reportedly told another woman that he was a Vietnam veteran helicopter pilot who had been shot down but then, with the help of his buddies, was able to get the chopper back into the sky.

In addition to his lies about military service, Alvarez has claimed to have played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, to have worked as a police officer (who was fired for using excessive force), and to have been secretly married to a Mexican starlet. As the district court observed, Alvarez “live[s] in a world, a make-believe world where [he] just make[s] up stories all the time . . . . [T[here’s no credibility in anything [he] say[s].”

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