Skip to comments.Judge Rules In Favor Of 'Patriotic' Man Arrested For Wearing Army Uniform
Posted on 07/05/2007 3:59:05 PM PDT by stainlessbanner
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Florida man described as patriotic, who faced prison time for wearing a U.S. Army uniform at Orlando International Airport, won a legal battle Thursday when an Orange County, Fla., judge ruled the state law unconstitutional.
In May, Fernando Montas, who is not a member of the military, was arrested at OIA for violating a state law prohibiting civilians from wearing military clothing.
"My client is patriotic with what is going on overseas and he is proud to be in this country and was basically exercising his First Amendment rights to freedom of speech," Montas' attorney Rajan Joshi said.
Under Florida law, a person could be sent to jail for wearing a military uniform, a part of a uniform or an imitation uniform.
"I was contesting the statute because the statute basically criminalizes innocent behavior," Joshi said. "It criminalizes a kid wearing a Halloween costume and it criminalizes a wife wearing her husband's jacket if he is in the military."
Police said Montas originally lied to airport security, claiming he was U.S. soldier. It is an allegation he denies.
"It is important to note that Montas is not charged with impersonating a solider, only dressing like one," Local 6's Mike DeForest said.
Prosecutors said it is in the interest of public safety that only military personnel be allowed to wear such uniforms.
"I think the law was on our side," Joshi said. "I think the statute my client was being prosecuted under was clearly unconstitutional. It is always a fight when you go into court but I think the judge made a good ruling."
Montas still faces up to a year in jail over a misdemeanor in connection with the case.
"It is up to prosecutors to decide whether they will drop those charges against him or whether they will fight today's ruling," DeForest said.
What an absolutely stupid law.
They BETTER fight this idiotic ruling!
The only problem I have with the ruling is that is based on the First Ammendment right to free speech. It should have been based on the Fifth Ammendment right to Liberty—which is the right to do whatever does not violate the rights of others.
I’m going to start to wear a police officer uniform and walk into restaurants.
Wanna bet I get free meals?
Maybe free donuts...
Used to be con men who would hit up people for a loan dressed as servicemen in airports.
It’s impersonating a soldier and I think there would be real problems there.
One would be bringing dishonor on the USD military by attending Gay Pride parades, being slobbering drunk on the street, etc.
Soldiers are asked to behave in certain ways while in uniform, so this could definitely be a problem.
If I wasn’t at work, I’d post a pic of Fidel Castro in army fatigues.
So this would be illegal?
So, does that mean that the 265,347 Vietnam Era sailors that claim to be ex-SEALS can now speak their claim with impunity? /s
Is the wearing of a uniform sufficient to qualify as "impersonating" a member of the military?
I would think that it would take more then simply wearing a uniform. In this case the man may have said he was in the military, that then would be sufficient to classify as 'impersonation'.
Show me your ID card and dog tags.
We have a retired dude around here that I guess never came home from VN. He wears cammy, combat boots (not shined) and a Marine BDU hat all the time. We just think he’s nuts.Not gonna put him jail until he pulls some shit.
not in my city!
impersonating an officer is not a stupid law. but i dont think this guy stated he was in the military. if you impersonate in order to obtain an advantage, then you should be arrested.
this law wouldn’t work in California from all the reenactors...
Actually, as a FORMER service member, I am entitled to wear my old uniform, for certain occasions.
I certainly don’t have an ID card, though.