There is an interesting case out of Mansfield Township, New Jersey where Matthew Argintar was arrested for dressing as a superhero and going to the Home Depot. Agintar, 23, was wearing a small mask, elbow and arm pads, bulletproof vest, and a cape when he appeared at the store. The charges caught my eye: disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of handcuffs.
As far as I know, there is not a criminal law prohibiting citizens from dressing as superheros, though cities like D.C. have moved to criminalize the wearing of masks in some circumstances.
Argintar is facing up to seven months in county jail for the offense. However, wearing a costume alone cannot be the grounds for disorderly conduct in my view. Accounts of witnesses say that Argintar was asking people if they needed help. It was the response to his appearance that caused the disorder with some people running to their cars. Argintar insisted that he was merely trying to “inspire hope.”
I am also surprised to see that it is illegal to possess a pair of handcuffs. I have found references to handcuffs being illegal but I could only find New Jersey Statutes 2C:39-9.2 criminalizing the sale of handcuffs to minors. I am not sure why handcuffs themselves would be a crime. Perhaps one of our Jersey friends can help. If it is a crime, it would appear arbitrarily enforced since you can buy handcuffs easily from sources that range from novelty stores to the Internet. I suspect most people are unaware of any law criminalizing possession of handcuffs.
Update: TomMll below supplied the language: New Jersey Statutes 2C:39-3k. Handcuffs. “Any person who knowingly has in his possession handcuffs … under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as handcuffs may have, is guilty of a disorderly persons offense. A law enforcement officer shall confiscate handcuffs possessed in violation of the law.” The use of “under circumstances not manifestly appropriate” in a criminal statute is facially ridiculous and should not be enforced as void for vagueness. It would be difficult to come up with language that is more undefined and vague. Agintar should challenge the statute and do a real service for the public.
Of course, in California, Joan Rivers can handcuff herself to a shopping cart and use a bullhorn without an arrest.
Of course, the arrest simply comes with the territory for the Dark Knight:
Batman: You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I can do those things. Because I’m not a hero, not like Dent. I killed those people. That’s what I can be.
Lt. James Gordon: No, no, you can’t! You’re *not*!
Batman: I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be. . . .
Lt. James Gordon: They’ll hunt you.
Batman: You’ll hunt me. You’ll condemn me. Set the dogs on me.
[Gordon takes the axe to the bat light]
Batman: Because that’s what needs to happen.
Yet, who would have thought it would all play out at a Home Depot?
29 thoughts on “New Jersey Man Arrested For Dressing As Superhero At Home Depot”
The guy’s mental. My ex-wife didn’t like the idea of handcuffs. His costume wouldn’t have gone over too good.
American political theory has it that all power comes from the people. If the people delegate a power to their servants, the people must therefore possess that power.
Constitutions grant power to legislatures to invest executive and judicial officers with powers the legislature does not itself possess. This is due to the legislature being a sort of trustee of the powers of the people.
However, the people possess all powers that exist. If the people give up a power, they cannot thenceforth delegate such power to their servants.
I notice that the statute appears not to except the police.
“Of course, in California, Joan Rivers can handcuff herself to a shopping cart and use a bullhorn without an arrest.”
But she’d better not have a can of mace or pepper spray without a license. That’s a felony in Kalifornica.
Do they still call it the Garden State?
Talk of exasperations, the stink on the Pike!
Dennis, be glad he did not crawl on the ceiling.
To all: Come to where nobody is afraid, or has reason to be so.
Darren: “Disorderly conduct due to the exasperation of others under circumstances not codified into law.”
I can understand the concern by the store patrons and employees.
When I worked midnights alone in a 7-11 store, a person came in wearing a fly mask that covered the whole head. Yellow plastic lenses covered the eyes.The hands were covered by gloves with bristled surfaces. The person walked to the candy aisle and returned to drop one candy bar and one dollar on the counter, wordlessly.
I rang the cash register with my right hand only, while keeping my eyes on the fly’s hands and my left hand on the revolver in my vest pocket.
The fly picked up the candy bar with one glove, held out the other glove palm-up for the change, and walked out.
It appears that NJ Statute 2C:39-3k.prohibits the knowing possession of handcuffs “under circumstances not manifestly appropriate for such lawful uses as handcuffs may have,” and that any person violating the statute is guilty of a “disorderly persons offense.” I don’t think that this guy’s arrest had anything to do with disruptive or disorderly behavior in the traditional sense; apparently it is considered “disorderly” when one possesses handcuffs in the state of New Jersey. Although the statute does not define what “lawful uses” handcuffs have, it incorporates the definition of the term “handcuffs” by reference to 2C:39-9.2, (sale of handcuffs to minors). Under that statute, handcuffs are defined as “a device, conventionally used for law enforcement purposes, that can be tightened and locked about the wrists for the purpose of restraining a person’s movement.” So does this mean that it’s only lawful to possess handcuffs if you intend to use them for a law enforcement purpose? And if so, why is it only unlawful to sell handcuffs to minors….why wouldn’t it be unlawful to sell handcuffs to any person not a member of law enforcement?
I would venture to say every retired LEO or jailer there is violating this statute presently.
Disorderly conduct due to the exasperation of others under circumstances not codified into law. The producers of Candid Camera would have been felons by now.
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