You have 20 seconds to comply…

September 5, 2007

Michael Righi was arrested after failing to produce his license to a cop after calling the cops when he was detained by a Circuit City store manager for not showing the contents of his bag.

As I headed towards the exit doors I passed a gentleman whose name I would later learn is Santura. As I began to walk towards the doors Santura said, “Sir, I need to examine your receipt.” I responded by continuing to walk past him while saying, “No thank you.”
As I walked through the double doors I heard Santura yelling for his manager behind me. My father and the family had the Buick pulled up waiting for me outside the doors to Circuit City. I opened the door and got into the back seat while Santura and his manager, whose name I have since learned is Joe Atha, came running up to the vehicle. I closed the door and as my father was just about to pull away the manager, Joe, yelled for us to stop. Of course I knew what this was about, but I played dumb and pretended that I didn’t know what the problem was. I wanted to give Joe the chance to explain what all the fuss was for.
I reopened the door to talk with Joe and at this point Joe positioned his body between the open car door and myself. (I was still seated in the Buick.) Joe placed his left hand on the roof of the car and his right hand on the open car door. I asked Joe if there was a problem.

Read the whole thing. In a way I think he was begging for something like this to happen. Now hear me out, I don’t mean that in a bad way. He knew his rights and was prepared to stand up for them. I hadn’t thought of this before but as a friend pointed out, you really are giving up some small portion of your rights when you submit to a bag search.

Joe wasn’t able to name the law that gives him, a U.S. citizen and Circuit City employee the right to examine anything that I, a U.S. citizen and Circuit City customer am carrying out of the store.

And his subsequent arrest was defintely ridiculous. That someone would get arrested for failure to produce a license (when by state law he shouldn’t have to) is egregious.

7 Responses to “You have 20 seconds to comply…”

  1. Actually, it states that he can be arrested if he doesn’t produce his name, address and DOB, but explicitly states that he can’t be for failing to produce anything more than that.
    He was absolutely required to produce his license, or identifying information, because the officer reasonably suspected him of committing a criminal offense.

  2. Required by what law? Not that statue he cited certainly, which only involves answering questions the way I read it. And what if he had no license to give over? I know he did, but how is having a license and not producing it a crime?

  3. Of course he did just thank Ayn Rand for The Fountainhead.

  4. I never go to Circuit City any more. They treated my like trash the whole time I was there, the one and forever only time I was there. I took my $3,000 to another retailer who treated my like a human being, and not a criminal.

  5. I try and avoid big box stores generally. If I want to be treated as a number I’ll just do it online.
    Btw Bucky, I went to your site and you should check out the political podcast we do weekly at It’s on Monday nights @ 9:00. I think you’d enjoy it.

  6. Well, this is a toughie. If you’re the store, are you just supposed to let people go when you think they’re stealing stuff? On the other hand, if I was the customer and I hadn’t done anything wrong, I’d be pretty ticked off at the employee. The arrest, of course, was totally uncalled for, and I think he’ll win in court to have that removed from his record.

  7. One would hope that he will. I imagine that at least one or two folks will lose their job.

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