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Posted on Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 2:46 p.m.

Andrew Shirvell fired from job at Michigan Attorney General's Office

By David Jesse

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Andrew Shirvell has been fired from the state Attorney General's Office.

Andrew Shirvell has been fired from his job as a Michigan assistant state attorney general, his attorney said this afternoon.

Shirvell was fired for using state resources for his campaign against University of Michigan student body President Chris Armstrong and for lying to investigators during his disciplinary hearing, Attorney General Mike Cox said in a statement.

Shirvell was called before the attorney general’s staff at 1:30 p.m. today, said Philip Thomas, Shirvell’s attorney.

“The only reason they gave was the fact that they felt his actions had made it impossible for him to continue in his role,” Thomas said.

Shirvell has been under fire for weeks for comments he made about Armstrong, who is openly gay. Shirvell has shown up at public events to condemn Armstrong’s “radical homosexual agenda.”

In a written statement, Cox said Shirvell was fired for "conduct unbecoming a state employee, especially that of an assistant attorney general."

"To be clear, I refuse to fire anyone for exercising their First Amendment rights, regardless of how popular or unpopular their positions might be," Cox said in the statement. "However, Mr. Shirvell repeatedly violated office policies, engaged in borderline stalking behavior, and inappropriately used state resources, our investigation showed. Cox's investigation into Shirvell showed he:

  • Showed up at Armstrong's home three separate times, including once at 1:30 a.m. "That incident is especially telling because it clearly was about harassing Mr. Armstrong, not engaging in free speech," the statement said.
  • "Engaged in behavior that, while not perhaps sufficient to charge criminal stalking, was harassing, uninvited and showed a pattern that was in the everyday sense, stalking."
  • Harassed Armstrong's friends as they were socializing in Ann Arbor.
  • Called Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office, Armstrong's employer, in an attempt to "slander Armstrong and ultimately attempting to cause Pelosi to fire Armstrong.
  • Attempted to "out" Armstrong's friends as homosexual — several of whom aren't gay.

The investigation found Shirvell engaged in his campaign on company time, Cox said. Shirvell called Pelosi's office while at work, during working hours, and sometimes posted online attacks about Armstrong while at work, the statement said.

In addition, Cox's statement said, Shirvell lied to investigating assistant attorneys general on several occasions during his disciplinary hearing.

"The cumulative effects of his use of state resources, harassing conduct that is not protected by the First Amendment, and his lies during the disciplinary conference all demonstrate adequate evidence of conduct unbecoming a state employee," the statement said. "Ultimately, Mr. Shirvell's conduct has brought his termination from state service."

Shirvell met for four hours on Friday with a panel made up of officials from the Attorney General’s Office. Shirvell has claimed his actions were both protected by Constitutional rights of free speech and were conducted away from his work on off-hours.

“I think it’s most unfortunate,” Thomas said. “This whole thing has a political aroma to me. I think my client is a victim of the liberal media piling on. In the first stories about this, (Attorney General Mike Cox) was quoted as saying that my client was doing this on his own time. What’s changed since then?”

The panel that conducted the hearing gave a summary to Cox, who decided to fire Shirvell, Cox’s spokesman, John Sellek, said in an e-mail.

"I think it's great that he was finally fired," said U-M third-year student Martell Lyons. "He really was abusing his position and I think he was stalking (Armstrong). I wish this would have happened sooner."

After Friday’s hearing, Thomas said he and Shirvell were expecting to come back before the panel on Tuesday or Wednesday. However, Thomas said he had a message on his office’s answering machine on Saturday, moving the time of the hearing up to today.

“I’m not sure what happened between Friday afternoon and Saturday,” Thomas said, adding he'll be consulting with his client on the next steps.

Shirvell has successfully appealed a University of Michigan order that barred him from any U-M owned property. The U-M Department of Public Safety modified the order last week.

But Shirvell stills faces complaints before the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission. Armstrong and his attorney, Deborah Gordon, have asked the commission to disbar Shirvell.

Gordon issued a statement today praising the firing. She also said she and Armstrong are pushing forward with their request to have Shirvell disbarred on the basis that he is not fit to be licensed to practice law, and said they continue to consider additional legal options.

"This clearly is the correct decision by the Attorney General's Office," Gordon said in her statement. "The next step must be a complete retraction of all the malicious lies and fabrications by Mr. Shirvell, and a public apology to Chris Armstrong, his family and the others Mr. Shirvell has slandered.

"It is past time for Shirvell to realize that there are consequences for his reckless, outrageous statements and actions and that he is solely responsible for those consequences."

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.



Mon, Nov 15, 2010 : 1:33 a.m.

He's more likely to be found cruising Craigslist's men seeking men ads then get a job in a right wing organization. He's unbalanced and a closet case. Everyone seems to know this except him.

Bertha Venation

Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

Glad he was fired. Unfortunately, as other posters have noted, he'll most likely wind up with a good job in a right-wing, anti-social, hate filled organization, and he will be fine. :(


Fri, Nov 12, 2010 : 12:06 a.m.

"....since Shirvell was not actually being PROSECUTED(sic) as a criminal or civil case, he does not maintain any right to due process...." That is absolutely false. The Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment of the federal constitution and Article I, Section 17 of the State of Michigan Constitution have long been held to apply to administrative proceedings which include Implied Consent Law suspension appeal hearings, professional license disciplinary hearings, cases before the Michigan Tax Tribunal, and Michigan Civil Service Commission hearings. The definition of administrative proceeding is one which derives its authority from statutory as opposed to constitutional origin. Shirvell had a due process right to notice of the charges against him and an opportunity to be heard in a meaningful fashion. Whether those rights were honored remains to be seen. He will have a right to appeal to the Michigan Civil Service Commission for a hearing and then onto the court system for appellate review. There is no question that misuse of government communication facilities for personal purposes is inappropriate, but is dismissal from employment an overly harsh remedy? What I do not understand is how the Department of Attorney General expects to punish employees for engaging in "borderline stalking" behavior as Shirvell supposedly did when going in front of the residence of Armstrong. Either the conduct is legal or illegal. What about when Michael Moore drove a pink bus with a "Buggery On Board" motto embossed on it filled with gay activists to Mississippi to march in front of the home of Senator Trent Lott? No action taken against these practitioners of the First Amendment. What about when Jewish activists in the Cleveland area applying and obtaining parade permits to demonstrate in front of the Seven Hills home of John Demjanjuk following his exoneration by the Israeli Supreme Court. Constitutionally-protected free speech at work. How does the differ from Andrew Shirvell being in front of Armstrong's residence? If one wishes to lawfully stand in a public place and operate audio or visual recording equipment there is nothing to stop him or her from doing so. Insurance companies and law enforcement officers do so all of the time though it, to be sure, can cause some consternation for thse being taped. Again, I must emphasize that, per the County Prosecutor's report, not only did Armstrong not communicate to Shirvell that his conduct was unwelcome, Armstrong actually told a police detective that he, Armstrong, did not want the detective to impart to Shirvell that such conduct was unwanted when the detective offered to convey such a message to Shirvell. Explain that. The firing of Mr. Shirvell is the first "victory" for Armstrong but it only Round One as appeals and civil rights lawsuits may follow from Shirvell in opposition to the actions of the Department of Attorney General. This case has received national public exposure and I suspect that both Armstrong and Shirvell may have found some degree of consolation that they have gotten their 15 minutes of fame, as Andy Warhol might say. It seems that various legal proceedings related to this conflict could drag out years. Which is sad. They both should make peace and move on with their lives. Just a thought.


Thu, Nov 11, 2010 : 10:03 p.m.

Roadman, Not at all in line with the Phelps case. "If a citizen objected to his employment with a U.S. Congresswoman's office, would this be protected under the First Amendment? " You can complain on your own time. NOT on company time. The first amendment does NOT apply to employment. I know this is hard for some to comprehend, but the first amendment has NOTHING to do with employment. I can not go on facebook and call my boss a moron and not expect ramifications. Employment is not a RIGHT. By the way, all Armstrong did was do what Shirvell did. He said this man should be fired for this reason. Armstrong is obviously better than SHirvell at following through on what he tries to do. "The Attorney General fails to" allege how Shirvell's statements were "slanderous" in nature. Actually it was not slander, it is libel. Two the standard for libel on a public figure is that it was KNOWINGLY FALSE (Armstrong is hardly a NAZI by any persons definition AND was with malice. I think everyone of Shirvells actions prove his malice beyond a preponderance of the evidence. (which is the standard for libel sincce it is a civil tort) "Did Shirvell's attorney have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses who gave information against him?" Nope and since Shirvell was not actually being PROSECUTED as a criminal or in a civil case, he does not maintain any right to due process or representation,. He is an employee. His employer fired him for his actions as it relates to his job and his actions during work hours and other actions that have a negative effect on his ability to do his job. If Shirvell advocated banning abortion, and said the death penalty should be the punishment for the doctors who perform them, and protests at a clinic where they are performed, he can not be allowed to have an abortion doctor murder case. "There are too many factual unknowns at this point to condemn Shirvell." You mean the facts that are on Shirvells blog? The facts he admits to are not enough to condemn him for you? You mean the fact he videotaped outside the man's HOME does not deserve condemnation? The fact he called Armstrongg a nazi is not condemnable?

Steve Pepple

Thu, Nov 11, 2010 : 8:41 a.m.

A comment containing a personal attack against another commenter has been removed.


Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 8:29 p.m.

On October 6th the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Snyder vs. Phelps case which may result in a landmark decision defining the scope of the First Amendment in cases similar to the conduct alleged against Mr. Shirvell. One of the issues in the Snyder case is whether the plaintiff in that case was a public figure because he made his son's death a news issue over and above posting an obituary and thereby drew the counter-attention of Fred Phelps' Westboro Church group. A key issue in the Shirvell case is that Armstrong was arguably a public figure due to his MSA president status. If a citizen objected to his employment with a U.S. Congresswoman's office, would this be protected under the First Amendment? There was no evidence that Shirvell was fired as a result of his alleged contact with that office. It seems to me a citizen can complain over an employment decision of an elected official. The Attorney General fails to allege how Shirvell's statements were "slanderous" in nature. Did anyone from the Congresswoman's office testify at the discharge hearing? Did Armstrong testify? Did Shirvell's attorney have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses who gave information against him? As to "outing" of friends of Armstrong, does Armstrong have standing to complain over this in a legal sense if it is true? Is Armstrong trying to generate national publicity over this matter and seeking to make cash for himself in a monetary damages suit? Why did Armstrong allegedly direct a police detective not to impart notice to Shirvell that Shirvell's conduct was unwanted? There are too many factual unknowns at this point to condemn Shirvell. Additionally, the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision expected in Snyder vs. Phelps may have a major impact on the Shirvell cases. It could also have an impact on protestors such as those who demonstrate in front of Temple Beth Israel and have done so for the last several years. Good night and good luck.


Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 1:44 p.m.

i can just see the new dick wolf franchise: "LAW and ORDER vs. the 'ROADMAN' WAY"....basically a bunch of "jailhouse lawyerly "types,who regard even the ACLU as too "mainstream", advocating for assorted ranters ( and worse) while our gallant detectives and D.A.s try to maintain some semblance of a rational society. There are many locally who could be employed as consultants and even actors...shirvell himself certainly has the experience from his "DAILY SHOW" triumph.


Wed, Nov 10, 2010 : 12:56 a.m.

One thing needs to be said regarding the "firing" of Shirvell. Under the great weight of authority of Michigan law, constitutional grounds and defenses may not be advanced in an administrative proceeding such as the one that resulted in the firing of Shirvell. Once Shirvell has his discharge case heard in a court of law he will likely be able to avail himself of a host of constitutional defenses that may not only include the First Amendment but also substantive and procedural Due Process Clause defenses under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Was Shirvell granted immunity from potential criminal prosecution by the Attorney General for stalking during the administrative investigation? If not, Shirvell may argue his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination was violated by subjecting him to the administrative hearing while a real possibilty of state criminal prosecution was present. Philip Thomas sifted through many similar arguments as Grievance Administrator when attempting to press disciplinary action against Geoffrey Fieger, which was largely unsuccessful for Thomas. The Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office made careful findings in their decision not to prosecute Shirvell criminally under the Michigan Penal Code stalking statute. They relied heavily on the fact that Chris Armstrong chose to run for the MSA presidency and made himself a public figure who could be reasonably expected to draw protests from the public like many other elected figures do. I expect one finding of the County Prosecutor to be hammered home by Shirvell's legal counsel: that Armstrong never came out to communicate to Shirvell prior to the filing of his PPO request that Shirvell's conduct was unwanted; Armstrong reportedly told a police detective that he did want the detective to impart to Shirvell that he, Armstrong, wanted the conduct of Shirvell to cease, per the County Prosecutor's report. The legal proceedings against Shirvell are far from a cakewalk for either Armstrong or the Department of Attorney General. This firing would be a dream case to litigate by the American Civil Liberties Union. Maybe Tom Wieder could jump in.

Inspector 57

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 11:02 p.m.

We don't have details about this alleged "lying". It could have been: "Did you use your computer or phone in a way that was a violation of our written policies?" "No." "BOOM! YES YOU DID! LIAR!" In which case every other employee of that Office should be fired. Or it could be some other trumped-up or legitimate case of his being dishonest during an investigation. We just don't know. To answer your question -- "Do you believe lying to your boss is a fireable offense?" -- more simply... I think it depends on the circumstances.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:49 p.m.

Based on the recent comments Thomas Moore must have been a night owl. Godnight and the best of luck!

Inspector 57

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 10:40 p.m.

"Paid by taxpayer dollars" equals "higher standard" for off-work behavior? Really? Where is that written? It makes no sense to me. I think it's important that government employees enjoy the very highest protection of free speech. Should a UM secretary be fired because she contributes (on her own time) to an anti-abortion website that engages in inflammatory practices? Should a UM physician who does the same thing be fired? Should a UM Vice President? Should a Secretary of State Customer Service Agent be fired if his photo appears in a Free Press article about gay bathhouses in Detroit? What if he were a supervisor? What if he was THE Secretary of State? Shirvell has the right to be obsessively anti-gay. And the right to express his opinions on the topic. And the right to keep his job even though he expresses his opinions. Of course, he wasn't officially fired for expressing his opinions. He was fired for trumped-up charges (using his computer and phone for personal business; defending himself during an investigation; engaging in off-work behavior that WAS NOT ILLEGAL.) But, of course, he was REALLY fired for expressing his opinion. As much as I despise him, I hope he challenges his firing and wins. He has been railroaded for expressing an unpopular opinion. The right to express unpopular opinions needs to be upheld, validated, and celebrated by state government.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:46 p.m.

So lets sum up- Mr. Shirvell was fired (1) because he showed up at Mr. Armstrong's home 3 times. Did he break in? Is it illegal to go to someone's house 3 times? We are given no specifics but we are content to pass judgement. (2) He was not fired for stalking becuase he was not stalking, but lets use the word stalking to incriminate Shirvell. (3) Because Nancy Pelosi fired Armstrong. Pelosi must think very highly of Mr. Shirvell, more then Mr. Cox does. And anyway does not Nancy Pelosi not have the right to fire and rehire anyone she chooses? (4) Because Shervill was trying to "out" people who did not want to be outed. Again, Mr. Shirvell's opinion must carry a lot of weight with these homosexuals. And (5), because Mr. Shirvell was bothering people. Really? Those who promote tolerance I have found to be the most intolerant. Those who call accuse others of bigotry are often the most bigoted.

Michael O

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:54 p.m.

anyone get it?...I guess if you're a white,heterosexual,christian republican,you won't.Absolute unadulterated bigotry.Shame on the AG for tolerating such blatant discrimination.for shame.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:06 p.m.

@rustyshackleford...regarding your response yesterday, stringent? You may want to check with the Michigan Bar Association and the Ethics page...or better yet, try and remember how many "lawyers" that were convicted of crimes recently that haven't even been suspended, let alone disbarred. Shirvell violated his employment terms but has not been charged with a crime as far as has been reported. The stalking case was not pursued for whatever reason the prosecutor decided upon. Me, personally, I really think there are so many more important things happening in our town that we need to focus all of our energies on...I'm sorry so many people have used so much energy on old news. And I'm curious as too why the moderator did not post a remark by a guys scared?

Tom Lienert

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 6:59 p.m.

Political? What's political about firing someone for committing acts that some people might have shot him for (my uncle used to have a sign in front of his house with the words "Anyone found wandering around out here at night will be found LAYING out here in the morning"). As for the question about what happened to speed up the process of Shirvell getting the axe, someone probably checked the phone logs and the server for the office LAN, and found evidence of Shirvell having lied about his activities being carried out on his own time. Apparently, it's not just Kwame Killwitness & Associes who needs a harsh reality check.

Michael O

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

I have not read all the comments,so forgive me if someone has addressed this before...what irritates me about this whole thing is that if Mr.Shirvell would have disparaged any other minority,that DAY he would have been fired.I guess it takes a couple of months to realize it's not okay to harass gay people.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 5:18 p.m.

@Atticus F: There have been instances in recent years where a deputy sheriff in full uniform attended a KKK cross-burning in Livingston County. There was no known disciplinary action taken there. Many key leaders in recent U.S. history were former Klansmen, including the recently-deceased U.S Senator Robert Byrd, who served as a "Grand Cyclops" in the Klan as well as Hugo Black, who served on the U.S. Supreme Court until 1971. David Duke, a major Klan figure, served in the Louisiana State House in the 1990s. Gary Shirvell's loss of his job is not final; it is Round One. He will have hearing (if he appeals his dismissal) before the Michigan Civil Service Commission. He can then appeal in the court system. I have seen no specific findings from the Department of Attorney General of how Shirvell was "lying". It is possible Shirvell made misstatements in the investigatory process that were misconstrued as lies. While using government facilities for personal purposes is undoubtedly improper, does it warrant his firing? I am wondering if attorney Debbie Gordon is trying to craft some legal theory with these facts to make the State of Michigan a potential civil suit defendant for "deep pockets" purposes. The bizarre visit to Armstrong's home at 1:30 a.m. was not deemed criminal stalking by the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office, but the Attorney General found that it did not constitute protected behavior under the Free Speech Clause. There is talk about "slandering" Armstrong. If Armstrong is deemed a "public figure" due to his MSA president status then there may be a legal mountain for Armstrong to climb as it must be proven then that Shirvell either knew his statements were false or made such statements with reckless disregard as their truth or falsity. Frankly, I see what Armstrong is going is not much different than what Congressmen John Dingell and Carl Levin had to endure the last several months. What if Shirvell blames his behavior on some type of medical disorder? He could claim that State of Michigan violated his rights under the Handicapper's Act for not accommdatng him. How many police officers have taken leaves due to a stress-related disabilty? A number of lawyers and judges have gone through rehabilitation and saved their law licenses and judicial offices, so do not expect Shirvell to be disbarred by a long shot. Anyone can file a Request For Investigation with the Attorney Grievance Commission and well over 90% are dismissed without formal charges. Don't forget that Shirvell had been on paid administrative leave when the firing cam down, so he had been none the worse financially. Expect Andrew Shirvell to come out swinging in the legal arena. Hold onto your hats!


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

MjC Posted 21 hours ago "Shirvell should have resigned." -------------------------------- I believe in most places of employment, they give a person that option. Knowing Shirvell, however, would lead me to suspect that he turned the State of Michigan down flat. If one is going to immolate themselves, it is preferable and proper that they supply their own fuel.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 1:13 p.m.

Too little too late!!! Andrew Shirvell should have been fired WEEKS ago! His behavior during this outrageous campaign against Chris Armstrong included criminal harassment and stalking. Free speech does not include standing outside a person's home at 1:30 in the morning shouting homophobic epithets! The only reason it took soooooooo long to get Shirvell fired is that he is a political crony of Mike Cox, the Attorney General, having served as a paid consultant on all of Mike conservative republican campaigns since 2000. Only when Cox and Shirvell could no longer conceal the true abuses of Shirvell did Cox finally do the right thing and fire this creep (abuses which included using the state's phones and paid office time to engage in the harassment of this man)! Now he should be disbarred for the criminal stalking he perpetrated against Armstrong! I hope justice is finally done in this case!


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.

Regarding First Amendment freedom of speech rights: one's freedom of speech rights do not extend to private property. This has been consistently upheld by both the SCOTUS and in this state, the Michigan Supreme Court. With a fairly narrow exception of such places that can be generally accepted to be a "public place of gathering" (such as a privately owned shopping mall like Briarwood, for example), one can not go onto someone else's private property (such as their front porch, front lawn, etc.) and exercise First Amendment rights. I am not a lawyer, I've just researched this some after the Clean Water Action idiots continue to come to my door begging and then spout First Amendment rights after I ask them to leave and not come back.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:48 a.m.

I can see it now: the lawfirm of "shirvell and roadman,esqs, P.c"... their logo: "If you say it or do it, we'll defend it: No case too odious". I also have a good idea who their first local clients would be.

Bill Wilson

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:32 a.m.

Truth Be Told, In light of the fact (the proclamation;)) that the case is not yet before them, I did find the statements made by the Attorney Grievance Commission (actually, the fact that they commented publicly at all is a bit odd) to be provocative, to say the least.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:31 a.m.

@UtrespassM No, you wouldn't be fired for calling the baby sitter to tell her you're late. But if you had an unhealthy obsession with the baby sitter, had a habit of spying through her windows, posting on her Facebook page, AND you called her from the office, then, Yes, you would be fired. Especially if you worked at the Department of Children Welfare and were supposed to be responsible for preventing such things. He wasn't fired because he did something personal at work. He was fired (partially) because he used "company time" to do something that was contrary to his job description.

Bill Wilson

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 9:12 a.m.

2. What Clinton did was not ILLEGAL, and did not constitute harassment., If Lewinsky said no, and he continued to stalk her than it would matter. For the record, and then we can continue on this topic: Bill Clinton attempted to fix a federal civil rights trial by subining perjury. Arguing that it isn't "illegal" is curious, considering that Clinton himself allocuted (admitted his guilt) and plead guilty to it.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:27 a.m.

A lot of hysteria still blowing back and forth on this subject. This isn't a liberal/conservative issue. It seems to me our system works. Cox did the right thing. He was careful to make sure he didn't impede Shirvell's rights, but after careful investigation pointed to Shirvell using his position, he was fired.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 8:10 a.m.

It's real simple: His conduct, regardless of his protected rights under the First Amendment, was unbecoming of a person working in an appointed, state legal office. Period. THAT is what he was fired for. So you can not compare his disciplinary actions in the same sentence of defending the hate speech of others. That's not what he was fired for. He was fired for conducting his personal hate speech business WHILE ON THE JOB which just happened to be working in the Attorney General's office of the State of Michigan. Not only is he a hater and a "homophobe", he's also stupid. (and I highly suspect a closet case)

C. S. Gass

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 5:11 a.m.

Good! Shirvell ought to be fired. I'm no fan of 'LBGTGTVTS rights', I think they should have the same rights as anyone else, NO MORE, but certainly no less. If you don't agree with the "in your face" gay agenda that Armstrong espouses, by all means mount a public protest! And shame on Armstrong if he can't hack it. As Student body President, he is a public official of sorts, and he better get used to confrontation. BUT, protesting Armstrong at his home was crossing the line. It ceases being a public protest of a public official. That puts Shirvell firmly in the realm of kook, and his cause in the extremist category.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 3:50 a.m.

Gee Mike Cox, this was a more thorough investigation than the one you conducted at the Moogian Mansion.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 3:10 a.m.

I think its most unfortunate, Thomas said. This whole thing has a political aroma to me. I think my client is a victim of the liberal media piling on. In the first stories about this, (Attorney General Mike Cox) was quoted as saying that my client was doing this on his own time. Whats changed since then? What has changed, Mr. Thomas, is that the election is over. Now, the truth can come out. As to several posters here, you are incredibly stupid - I am exercising my free speech rights in saying that. Absolute idiots. I say that because....I can! Of all the coverage on this circus, my favorite aspect has to be all the ways that Shirvell's name has been spelled incorrectly. I particularly liked, "Shrivel" - don't know if that was intentional or not, but it was classic.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 2:15 a.m.

I am disturbed that anyone would suggest that this is about free speech, particularly Mr. Cox. His suggestion that Mr. Shirvell's behavior did not constitute criminal stalking calls into question Mr. Cox's education. Stalking is a misdemeanor in Michigan, defined to be a "willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested". To be "harassed" means that there is repeated contact without permission which results in emotional distress. Clearly, any "reasonable person" would find this conduct criminal and I think that Mr. Shirvell would have been prosecuted had he been harassing someone other than a young gay male, perhaps an ex-girlfriend or Mr. Cox's daughter.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 1:31 a.m.

Will Andrew Shirvell keep his job pending an appeal to the Michigan Civil Service Commission?


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:40 a.m.

@speravi Apples to oranges. Clinton should have never been asked the question, It had nothing to do with the investigation. He should have said "NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS" Next question. Shirvell's lie was about the entire case. 2. What Clinton did was not ILLEGAL, and did not constitute harassment., If Lewinsky said no, and he continued to stalk her than it would matter. 3. As I recall the right wing nut jobs called for Clinton's resignation AND impeachment. Is this what you say should happen to Shirvell? How about John Ensign, or David Vitter? Liberals do nto care who has sex with whom. Right wingers obsess about it. As long as all the parties consent, why would it matter if Chris Armstrong did have 60 man orgies in his hme? I bet even right wing hero Ronald Reagan had sex with more than one woman in his life. Oh thats right, he was married twice, since his family values was to dump his first wife. Kinda like Newt and Rush did to more than one wife.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:26 a.m.

For those defending someone who lied to investigators under examination: such a thing is after all forgivable? Bill Clinton should not have been prosecuted for such an offense, it being a minor concern after all? Or is truth relative? Just to be clear....


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:20 a.m.

To Not A Liberal (and other apologists for the disgraced AAG): whether you're a liberal or not, as several self-professed conservatives said here, is not the issue and immaterial. Shirvell clearly crossed one too many boundary lines in stalking/shadowing/harassing Armstrong and his friends; in using state resources and time to pursue his unwholesome "hobby;" in lying to his colleagues in the course of the investigation. Theres been a tremendous piling on against Andrew. The liberal media started this tempest in a teapot quoth Philip Thomas, Shirvell's attorney. This smells political to me, Thomas said. That's rich: shift the blame for your client's imbecilic and unprofessional behavior, obsession, and possible mental illness on convenient mythical scapegoats. Shirvell has no one but himself to blame for his downfall. Cox waited a long time to do the right thing, and I'm not sure he didn't do it because he risked having too many fingers pointed at him, but he finally did it. Perhaps the Governor-Elect told him that it wouldn't look good for the incoming administration to be saddled with this scandal once Cox was out of office. And, one thing rather curious that no one else seems to have pointed out is this strange quote from the current Attorney General: Shirvell's actions included "harassing Armstrong's friends as they were socializing in Ann Arbor" and "attempting to 'out' Armstrong's friends as homosexualseveral of whom were not gay," Cox wrote. Did anyone else notice the absurdity of this comment? What difference does it make whether these friends were gay or not? Would it have been OK to out them if they were homosexuals and it was their decision to not reveal their sexual orientation? This is what Cox's remark seems to indicate whether it was unconscious or intentional. Whose business is it anyway? Just their own, of course. In any case, let's hope that Andrew Shirvell gets the psychological help he desperately needs and leaves Chris Armstrong alone. Many a homophobe such as former US Sen. Craig of Idaho, disgraced baptist minister Ted Haggard of Colorado Springs, and former US Rep. Mark Foley to name just a handful, have turned out to be closet cases in examples of crass hypocrisy. This may well be the case with Andrew Shirvell, who is obviously obsessed with Chris Armstrong.


Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:14 a.m.

Whether you are homosexual, back homosexuality or are dead set against it, this whole situation has nothing to do with sexual preference. It just happens to be what Mr Shirvell was screaming about. This had to do with the inalienable right to live in this country free from harassment, stalking and the threat of any type of harm from anyone, especially a public official with whom we all as individuals should feel safe and secure in that our basic rights are protected. Mr Shirvell stomped on not just Mr Armstrongs rights but everyone's. He has not a clue what it means to live in a free country where the acceptance of differences in individuals is what makes this country great. He got exactly what he deserved. Actually, I'm surprised no one attempted to inflict any bodily harm on him.

Anne Jackson

Tue, Nov 9, 2010 : 12:01 a.m.

Sometimes I wish I was that smart, wealthy lawyer who could blow away the whiny "freedom of speech" cry whenever civility intervenes. C'mon...S's behaviour was hateful and damaging to the State. And to an individual. And to society. Not to mention that it was self-destructive. Somewhat akin to some kind of personality disorder. I think we need to learn the difference between freedom of speech and violent, hateful, damaging language. Perhaps S has defined it for us unwittingly.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 10:46 p.m.

I was hoping he would stay on in his state job because now he will be hanging his shingle and opening an office right here in Ann Arbor Town so he can keep an eye on Michigan student government. Thanks to those pushing his dismissal.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 10:40 p.m.

I can't believe the coverage this story keeps getting here. Who cares, quite frankly. So the guy doesn't agree with homosexuality, some people don't. So what. People have a right not to agree with it.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 10:21 p.m.

Does this mean the end of women's and men's restrooms at U-M, and we all have to use "gender-neutral" bathrooms? Can we bring our own Port-a-Johns?


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 10:20 p.m.

Top Cat > Top Post > Top Logic Said so much with so few words. He crossed the "unbecoming" line at 1:30 in the a.m. appearing at Mr. Armstrong's a street punk.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 10:18 p.m.

Using government facilities for any personal business while at work and lying to investigators is clearly inappropriate and sanctionable behavior. The question is whether job termination is an appropriate remedy for the first offense. Some would clearly say why the Attorney General would want anyone found guilty of attempting to mislead investigators of that department to be representing him in the courts of this state. There is also a question of whether such deceit should result in a stiff penalty by the Attorney Discipline Board. The ADB has taken a dim view of such conduct in the past.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 9:55 p.m.

For all those screaming freedom of speech, need to learn things you can't do with your speech. 1. Slander people- he called Chris a Nazi and claimed he had homosexual orgies 2. Do it on the TAXPAYERS dime- His postings are during business hours AND called Pelosi's office during business hours. 3. Break rules regarding harassment and stalking- No person coould go to Rick Snyder or Mike Cox's home and do this, and they are much larger public figures than Chris Armstrong. Finally, the investigation must have uncovered plenty more for Cox to take this action against one of his own. Cox has nothing to gain from doing it. You have to be a major nut case to offend Mike Cox's sensibilities


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 9:43 p.m.

Freedom of speech,homosexuality or not.....doesn't anyone just think it's WEIRD for a grown man to be so concerned with a college kid and his friends? creepy if you ask me.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:59 p.m.

Yay! There is hope after all!


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:58 p.m.

I don't think there should have been ANYTHING political about this. ANYONE - no matter how they lean politically - should have enough common sense to realize that Shirvell lacks the character and integrity to hold a position in the AG's office. Knowing how this man thinks (he's made his views very clear and very public) he should never be allowed to make any determinations that may effect anyone's life. Oh yeah - I'm a MAJOR conservative and a Christian... His views are NOT in line with anything I believe. To attribute this guy's views to being a conservative or a Christian is just as wrong as his twisted views about homosexuals and liberals.

Bill Wilson

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:49 p.m.

@NAL Homosexuality is an act, not a God-given attribute or feature, like say, the color of one's skin so there is nothing wrong with being homophobic Homosexuality is (mostly) a genetic sexual preference that manifests itself in a behavior. Why hate on people for something their DNA imposed upon them? For that matter, why hate on them at all? In case u didn't get the picture yet, most people don't like and don't agree with homosexuality, they just don't say it 2 ur face but they show it in other ways (like with their vote)...unless they want some publicity, fame or notoriety to sell themselves (GaGa) or their product(s). I'm a conservative, and it's pretty much a small group that feels the way you describe: the far right. Most conservatives are just slightly right of center, and are not knee-jerk as to the issue, or other issues. For example: I'm pro-abortion. IMO, it's something that the man & woman in question, should be able to decide upon. And I think most conservatives agree with me. As to homosexuality, I think most conservatives feel as I do as well: we don't care. We're oblivious to the kiss & tell aspect of human relationships whether it be homosexual or heterosexual, or a mixture of both. About the only thing we do not condone is the exploitation of children, i.e, the NAMBLA group. But frankly, I think most who would identify themselves as liberals would be against the latter, as well. Oh, and I like Lady Gaga. She's cute, and very talented.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:48 p.m.

Like it or not, Mr. Shirvell has a position in the public eye. And he has overstepped it so much as to expose the State of Michigan to national ridicule. And we, as residents and voters, we allowed it to happen. Which I guess would be semi-ok if his boss thought this was a great idea. Maybe if there were not so many more pressing things our state attorneys could be doing, I guess it would be another. As an attorney, he's supposed to know where the lines are, and plainly, he does not. When you've made and you think you're a serious attorney with actual skills, it's long past the time to stop the pretense. Move on. Be an "opinion guy" somewhere, but stop embarrassing the rest of us by any pretense at representing anyone other than yourself. Whether he flunked that semester, or there was some failure in his education or mental illness, I do not care. God knows, there are problems enough that the State of Michigan does need a real lawyer for. I'm thinking a U of M student elected official is not one of those problems. So as a taxpayer, it was about damn time WEEKS ago.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:44 p.m.

Inspector 57 - we may disagree whether this is 1st amendment issue. But what is your opinion about Mr. Shrivell lying to his employer when questioned about the matter. Do you believe lying to your boss is a fireable offense?


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:42 p.m.

Would I be fired because I used the office phone and called our baby sitter that I would be a little late? Would I be fired because my parents came to visit, I went to the airport to pick them during a working hour?


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:42 p.m.

Due process takes time. I am sorry this all happened, but I am glad that the rules were followed. We would all want and would deserve a fair hearing if we were in Mr. Shirvell's position of being accused. Now that this is over, maybe we can move to better education on tolerance and use this as an example of bullying?

Jake C

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:32 p.m.

"He was fired for doing things that all employees do," Pardon me? "All employees" post edited photos on the internet of other people with swastikas on their faces and hang out in their front yards at 1:30 AM? Do some employees use the internet for personal reasons during company time? Sure they do. They shop on eBay or and send emails to their moms and husbands and wives. And most employes recognize that allowing employees to use the internet for such harmless purposes is beneficial in the long run, even if it sometimes violates their 'official' internet usage policy. It's a simple "common sense" policy, basically. But employees who are paid by taxpayer dollars get held to a higher standard than the rest of us, especially when their "speech" is so objectionable, and double especially when they attempt to lie to cover up their behavior. I'm all for free speech, but this guy obviously crossed a line quite a few miles ago. Many people defended the Arkansas school board member who publicly posted on his Facebook page that gay people should "kill themselves". Yes, he has a constitutional right to say whatever he wants. Tens of thousands of people probably posted similar comments over the past few months. But anyone in a position of power over people who might be gay have a responsibility to behave like a civilized adult. If someone abdicates that responsibility, then they lose all respect from me and they should get whatever they deserve for their irresponsible behavior.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:20 p.m.

After watching Shirvell on The Daily Show, I only hope his medical coverage both a.) covered long-term psychotherapy and b.) remains in force. and i have tried very hard to use very small capital letters.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:14 p.m.

There you go, the right outcome in the end. He used state resources and Cox took the time to investigate properly, so there won't be a messy lawsuit that will cost us a lot of money in the end. Hopefully this marks an end to this particularly vapid episode of "as the stomach turns."

Inspector 57

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:09 p.m.

Unfortunately -- and justifiably -- Shirvell is going to become a powerful martyr figure for the (religious) right. I'm not sure we anti-homophobes came out ahead on his deal. He was fired for doing things that all employees do, as well as for "almost" illegal behavior. It seems to me that he hasn't done anything that's actionable. I don't believe that his being discharged was justified. I DO think this is a free speech issue. If Tag-Hauer wants to drop Tiger Woods as an employee because of his behavior, I think that's completely within their right. If Nabisco wants to fire an exec because she's tarnishing the brand image, I think that's their right. But I don't think our government should fire someone for expressing his own personal opinion or for taking actions that are not illegal. I'm gay. I'm sickened by Shirvell's actions. I feel for Chris Armstrong and his friends, and for all the gay people who will suffer because of Shirvell's screeds (and now for his martyrdom). But more important than being pro-gay to me is being pro-fair. And I believe Shirvell was seriously mis-treated simply because he has expressed an unpopular opinion.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8:06 p.m.

LOL, I really appreciate Rusty Shackelford's score keeping on this contest. Sounds like it could make good fodder for an SNL skit. "The Radical Homosexual Agenda v Andrew Shirvell! Televised replay of the Agenda trouncing Shirvell on ESPN at 11, 10 Central! Winner Agenda moves up to challenge Fred Phelps next!" On a more serious note, whether he had his arm twisted like Linda Blair's head in The Exorcist or whether it's sincere or not, I really do appreciate Mike Cox taking the high road in his official written statement and saying that Shirvell's conduct as a state employee was unbecoming and that he was not fired for exercising his First Amendment rights and that his behavior was borderline stalking. Whether Cox believes it or not, he did what he knew he had to do. And he's leaving his office, so there is no reason for him NOT to do the right thing (not that playing politics is a good reason for decision making).

Jake C

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 8 p.m.

@notaliberal "In case u didn't get the picture yet, most people don't like and don't agree with homosexuality, they just don't say it 2 ur face but they show it in other ways...nobody really likes homosexuality unless they're homosexual. " Hi "not a liberal!" It's interesting that you chose to define yourself by what you are not. On the other hand, I'm just another regular Joe chiming in to say that people like you don't speak for Americans like me. Enjoy your time in the political spotlight, because it won't last for long.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 7:58 p.m.

Good riddance... His firing shouldn't have taken so long... Glad Shirvell's off the taxpayer payroll!

Brennan Kar

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 7:41 p.m.

Andrew Shirvell's behavior, whether strictly illegal or not, interfered in his ability to serve the state as an asst. attorney general. Those of you who might have seen the interview with Jason Jones on THE DAILY SHOW (admittedly not a neutral source, but the interview allowed Shirvell considerable space to articulate his own views) witnessed his implosion in full public view of a national television audience. When Jones read him the text from the Michigan Attorney General's office brochure for parents on "cyber-stalking," he repeatedly insisted that the text Jones read was not Michigan law and when Jones showed him the words on the page, he insisted it was "taken out of context." This exchange made clear that Shirvell's rather unhealthy obsession with Chris Armstrong interfered in his ability to perceive and protect the law he was supposed to uphold. He was blinded to the law by his own obsessions. Being uncomfortable with others' sexual orientation is one thing; actively persecuting and pursuing another person because of your own discomfort is quite another. When this is permitted as part of our political discourse, we will know that our civil society has come to an end. So let's go beyond the technicalities of the law and consider the role of government and the officials it employs in setting the tone of this civil society we inhabit -- at least for a bit longer.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 6:53 p.m.

GOOD. It was about time.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

Has the Thomas More Law Center weighed in on this yet? I would not expect them to remain silent...if they're hiring, someone's available.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 6:29 p.m.

Shirvell made a national laughingstock of his employer and our state. He should have packed it in weeks ago. Good riddance to bad rubbish.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 6:17 p.m.

Shrilvell wasn't fired for what he believes in or his expression in speech. His firing wasn't a first admendment issue. He was fired because: 1. He lied to his employer durning the investigation. 2. He used state resources and state time during his campaign to harass Mr. Armstrong. 3. His behavior was unbecoming of a state employee.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

Free speech rights and consequences for what you say (and how, and where you say it) are two different things.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:51 p.m.

I am really wondering why did Mr. Shirvell go out of his way to behave like this? Didn't he know that his approach would be indefensible?


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:40 p.m.

I've seen an awful lot of comments about our freedom of speech. Here's my take on it. I love this country, and the rights provided me by our constitution. I believe one of my rights as a tax paying citizen, is to protest when a public servant is acting in a way that is violating the rights of one of our citizens. How could an assistant AG justify his actions when the court is sworn to treat all the same, no matter color/creed/ or sexual orientation. For me, there seems to be a disparity of attitudes toward the rights of others. Also, one of the reason he was fired was for lying during questioning. Does that in itself not give cause for an attorney being fired? Yes, he can say what he wants, but to print and spew false accusations about someone is to cause defamation of character. I believe you'd better be able to PROVE what you say and put in print about someone, EXSPECIALLY is you hold a public office with the Attorney General!! The same bill of rights that give us free speech also give us the right to defend and protect the rights of others. Bullies aren't the only ones with rights. That's my thinking.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:29 p.m.

It just amazes me sometimes how uneducated on our constitution some people are. Shirvell's first amendment rights have NOT been violated at all. He has always had the right to say whatever he wants. He's just learning the all important lesson that speaking your mind also has consequences. He's not being fired for what he said about Chris Armstrong. He's being fired for his poor judgement in harrassing and slandering Armstrong and his friends. Cox stated that his behavior - showing up at Armstrongs house at 1:30am - bordered on criminal stalking. And if you bother to read the story, he was also fired for conducting his vendetta against Armstrong while he was working. My guess is that they did a little investigation and compared the times he was writing attacks on his blogpage, sending emails, etc to his timesheet and determined that he was doing those things when he was on the clock at the AG's office. Shirvell obviously has some kind of obsessive personality disorder. He has allowed his hate or love or whatever he has for Chris Armstrong to overrule his common sense and good judgement - both of which are critical qualities that an assistant DA and any good attorney must have. Firing Shirvell was the right thing to do. The only thing wrong was how long it took Mike Cox to get around to doing it.

Jack Eaton

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:27 p.m.

Mr. Shirvell was not discharged for exercising his right of free speech. He was discharged for engaging in these activities during work hours, borderline stalking and lying during the investigation. Mr. Cox was clear in saying that he would not have discharge Shirvell for exercising his right to speak. McDonalds, or any private-sector employer, can discharge an employee for, among other things, exercising his or her right of free speech. The Attorney General is a governmental actor and cannot act in contravention of constitutional rights. The right of free speech, however, is not absolute when the speaker is also a public employee. A government, when acting as an employer, is afforded greater leeway to control speech that threatens to undermine the state's ability to perform its legitimate functions." Rodgers v. Banks, 344 F.3d 587, 596 (6th Cir. 2003). The employees free speech must be balanced against the governments right to supervise its employees. Apparently, Mr. Cox did not think that he needed to apply that balancing test. I think Mr. Shirvell got what he deserved. The sad fact is that gays and lesbians will continue to be mistreated by people like Mr. Shirvell. My heart goes out to anyone who has been mistreated because of who they are.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:23 p.m.

He can always plead diminished capacity. This is like one of those fox in the hen house stories.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:22 p.m.

Free speech is expensive and it cost Shirvell his job. It amazes me that he thought he could get away with this type of behavior. He needs counseling.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:22 p.m.

@ notaliberal; I logged in to comment on your comment, but, when I went back to reread it, I thought, "Why bother?" Apparently you know everything.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

The reasons stated for his firing are a bit troubling. On at least one occaision he used his office computer to post onto his blog and he made a phone call to Pelosi's office from his office. Yes, technically violations but how many of us could be fired because we did some personal business on the internet (e.g. shopping or watching our child's daycare) or made a personal phone call. The conduct unbecoming might pass muster but they did not want to hang their hat on that rationale alone so they trumped up a few objective violations. Never mind that they are selectively enforcing them in this case but not against everyone in the office that has done the same. There are also usually a series of escalating punishments from verbal reprimand, written reprimand, final warning and then termination. There will probably be a wrongful termination lawsuit and even if Shirvell doesn't win, the state will spend more money defending it than they would have paid for Shirvell's salary but at least the politicians won't have to deal with this unpopular issue anymore.

Monica R-W

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:09 p.m.

I hate to see anyone unemployed but in this case, he truly deserved it for his highly questionable actions.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:09 p.m.

What got this guy fired was that he used his work resources, IE phone and computer, to try to get Andrew fired from his internship, and to blog his first amendment protected garbage. I am betting that right in the 'welcome to your job at the AG's office handbook' is a section on appropriate use of resources and what can happen if you misuse them. If he had only done this on his own time, using his own PC with his own internet service, they would have had a hard time firing him. Since he didn't and apparently lied about it (dumb since they it is possible to trace information about where posts to blogs came from and at what time of the day) he can be fired. Liberal media had not one darn thing to do with it, it was the guy blinded by his crusade. Glad he blew it. Good riddance.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5:03 p.m.

@ Stephen Landes, to be fair to all of the posters, this story was very paltry when it was first posted, and has a lot more depth to it now. One thing that should be noted is that Shirvell may some good arguments against the State, since a majority of their employees most likely use their equipment for purposes other than work. If the State is not enforcing this across the board, it will be tough to defend.

Susan Montgomery

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 5 p.m.

@notaliberal - Re. Homosexuality is an act" - You could not be more wrong. Homosexuality is about MUCH more than an act, in the same way that heterosexuality is more than an act. Did you at one point choose to become heterosexual, or did it just happen that the people you were attracted to were of the opposite sex. Why is it so hard to believe that others might be attracted to people of the same sex? And is your heterosexuality really about just an act? Re. "nobody really likes homosexuality unless they're homosexual" I am one of MANY heterosexual people who also like homosexuals. I'm also a right handed person who also likes lefties, a brown-eyed person who also likes blue-eyed people, a short person who also likes tall people... Regarding the article, Chris Armstrong is a student who ran for MSA president who just happens to be gay. Why the harrassment/near-stalking? Glad Andrew Shirvell's bosses finally did the right thing...


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:57 p.m.

Not to worry Shirvell fans. He'll soon have a job at Ave Maria teaching discrimination law or for one of the many conservative 'thinktanks' (yes, I know it's an oxymoron). And in no time he'll be all over the airways as a victim of liberal bias and political correctness.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:53 p.m.

what's the over/under on Shirvell showing up on Armstrong's front porch soon?

Stephen Landes

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:53 p.m.

I read through the comments so far (about 45 of them) and find that only one indicated an actual comprehension of the article; the one that cited "borderline stalking". Now, you may all be so cynical these days that you won't take anything at face value, but according to the article the reasons for Mr. Shirvell's firing, in addition to the borderline stalking, included use of office equipment and time to conduct his personal campaign and lying during the disciplinary conference. Either of those actions are cause for termination every place I have ever worked. Look at the U of M NCAA case -- why was the U of M employee fired? He lied to the NCAA. You may be excused for cynicism considering the way some of these issues have been discussed in the media, but if what was reported was correct, then Mr. Shirvell was fired for cause, not for what he said.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:52 p.m.

Speech is one thing, action is another entirely. Take the bigoted content out of the equation and the reality is that Shirvell clearly crossed the line when he acted on his speech by stalking another individual. That should be the end right there. The fact that this went on as long as it did is a travesty. As far as I'm concerned, onto the disbarring! And for what it's worth, I'm saying that as an attorney


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:49 p.m.

Andrew Shirvell acted outside the law he is supposed to uphold and rightly has paid the price. GOP or Democrat AG should have acted the same way in this case.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:45 p.m.

You can argue all day about whether this was stalking and harassment or political free speech, but if this guy used his State computer, phone and office AND used them during work time for ANY ongoing personal use, then he violated the terms of his employment with the State and should be fired--especially if he later lied about it to investigators. Government employees (or private ones for that matter) who while away the hours at their jobs by posting on blogs (like this one) ought to take heed. Internet usage leaves logs behind on workstations and servers on both ends, with addresses for individual computers. It's a fairly simple matter for an IT person to pull them out and show exactly what sites have been visited, when, and for how long.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:43 p.m.

Methinks Shirvell hath protested too much.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:40 p.m.

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged.

Alexander John Migda

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:32 p.m.

Good news.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:32 p.m.

About Time. Nuff Said


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

@notaliberal Homosexuality is an act, not a God-given attribute or feature, like say, the color of one's skin so there is nothing wrong with being homophobic. Of the countless wrong things in your post, this is the wrong-est. But hey, the rest of tolerate you, too.

Silly Sally

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

"Speechless" said, "The fact that Mike Cox felt compelled to take this action satisfactorily reflects positive, long-term changes in social attitudes. Going back twenty or thirty years, a firing under similar circumstances would have been much less likely." So very true, and a great observation that is so true. But is it really a positive long-term change? I think not. I watched the film "Milk" and I was fascinated by the political angle of it all. Could Andrew Shirvell be similar to the San Francisco supervisor, Dan White, who murdered Harvey Milk and was freed by the successful Hostess Twinkies defense?

Basic Bob

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:30 p.m.

As slow as the wheels of justice turn, Cox got this one right. And no smelly politics were necessary on his part, because Shirvell did the smelly part all by himself. Bad but legal behavior = lose your job but stay out of jail.

Jody Durkacs

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:27 p.m.

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences of said speech. Congress did not make a law making it illegal for Shirvell to say what he did. I think he was dealt with more an fairly.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

Shirvell's freedom of speech wasn't violated. He had every right to say what he wanted. That doesn't mean he is free from consequences of that speech. Not to mention the fact that if Shrivell is found guilty of any crime, he is disbarred and therefor unfit for the Asst. AG position in the first place. That was the legal angle that Armstrong was taking. Shirvell getting fired just put out that fire before it grew too large and caused harm to the rest of the AG office and the state as well.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

There must have been quite a bit of political pushing for this to occur. Mike Cox said several times he couldn't fire him for this. We all knew it was wrong. No one deserves to be treated that way. Freedom of speech ok I agree with that. But harassment no, you are a representative of the state of Michigan what are you thinking. Well then again he wasnt thinking. No surprise there.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:17 p.m.

djm, the standards to retain the privilege of bar membership or employment as an attorney are a tad more stringent than merely refraining from committing felonies. cops, on the other hand, tend to be applauded for committing felonies on the job.

rusty shackelford

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:14 p.m.

leaguebus, point one on the agenda: ban pleated pants.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:13 p.m.

to quote the "decision" makers he engaged in "border-line" stalking, I'd say that's like kinda like a crime, but not really... okay, this guy was and is a homophobe at the very least, but to accuse him of an "almost" crime and use that as the basis of employment termination is kinda like almost slander...can't accuse him of a crime if he's not charged with one so let's use the "border-line" crime terminology!?!... and is there other "borderline" crimes we need to be aware of? And by the way does anybody beside Shirvell give a rat's patootie who Armstrong dates? I don't care, but it does seem to be big news in this town.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:12 p.m.

Rusty: its actually 1-1 since Shirvell won his U of M appeal. To others: yeah, the liberal media is partly to blame. No one can make a stand against an unpopular idea that celeb's and those who seek political gain are trying to make popular without being demonized by the liberal media. In case u haven't noticed, most of America doesn't really agree w/homosexuality, they just tolerate it. There are 21 states that ban gay marriage and only five states in allow it. The rest have laws that define marriage as being between 1 man and 1 woman. Hello?! Homosexuality is an act, not a God-given attribute or feature, like say, the color of one's skin so there is nothing wrong with being homophobic. As long as you're not human-phobic or homicidal or causing physical harm to a person, feel free to say whatever you want and feel however you want. No one should be forced to talk to, be friends with, get along with or agree with anyone who is practicing that lifestyle if they dont want to. What are u gonna do, re-program them? Now who's the sicko? Everyone who has commented here must have been really shocked when the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage was passed here in Michigan (i voted 4 it), but then again you would be. So naive... In case u didn't get the picture yet, most people don't like and don't agree with homosexuality, they just don't say it 2 ur face but they show it in other ways (like with their vote)...unless they want some publicity, fame or notoriety to sell themselves (GaGa) or their product(s). Just get over it...nobody really likes homosexuality unless they're homosexual. Y would anybody else even care? Heterosexuals just tolerate it. What can they do, reprogram you? Oh, yeah that's part of the liberal agenda. Kudos 2 Shirvell for being brave enough to openly express his dis-pleasure, I wish more ppl were as honest as him. Anyway, he was probably planning to make a different career move anyway. Y be in the company of those liberals??? No thanks!


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:11 p.m.

Hallelujah!! Common sense and civility prevails. Or what used to be common sense is a civilized community. Also, Shirvell wasn't just "some government employee". He was in a prominent office charged with upholding the laws of the land, not upending them. Good riddance, what an embarassment he is!


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:10 p.m.

The fact that Mike Cox felt compelled to take this action satisfactorily reflects positive, long-term changes in social attitudes. Going back twenty or thirty years, a firing under similar circumstances would have been much less likely. Shirvell's fundamentalist harassment was somehat closer to the social mainstream a generation ago. Thankfully, it's now moving out to the margins. Up until now, Shirvell has seemed like Spiro Agnew to Cox's Richard Nixon.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:09 p.m.

He might already have a new gig lined up. Radical Homosexual Agenda Affairs Desk Chief for Fox News.

Diego Amor

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:08 p.m.

Someone commented about denying Mr. Shirvell his right to free speech. I don't believe anyone is preventing Mr. Shirvell from saying whatever he wants to say. Whether right or wrong, employers do not have to permit employees to continue to work for them regardless of their personal views. Just try revealing any secrets of Disney-ana and remaining an employee of the Great Mouse. Mr. Shirvell's "beat" includes making the citizens of Michigan feel that they will be represented by a fair, balanced and professional member of the government's staff. Mr. Shirvell provided ample evidence that that is a standard he cannot meet. In my opinion, of course.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

Good decision! Yes, under the right of free speech, Shirvell CAN say what he wants. But, that doesn't obligate his employer, whether it's the state of Michigan or whatever company, to keep him as an employee for the stupid things he says. Employers CAN fire people for saying things that they believe cause any kind of problem with them (or co-workers) doing their jobs. That's NOT discrimination. Read the fine print when you accept a job.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 4 p.m.

It would be best if everyone here kept their opinions to themselves, because free speech, even homophobic, or heterophobic is liable to cause loss of job. God Bless of the freedom of speech as long as it's popular.

Atticus F.

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:56 p.m.

If you walked into Mcdonalds, asked for a job application, and then told them you were part of the Neo Nazi movement, they would have every right not to hire you. Why do people think they that freedom of speech equates to freedom for extremist to demand a job where ever they want?


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:53 p.m.

Better late than never....once again" free speech" is not,and should not be, "consequence-free speech", especially when it's abused by an employee of the public. But FOX will pick him up...or whatever network is producing the new sara palin 'reality' show.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

Yes! Finally, this was a huge embarrassment to have such a nut as assistant out of state/out of country friends were all in wonderment. Also *ROFL* at Paul Rubins playing Shirvell! *hahahahha! perfect!*


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:50 p.m.

Good outcome. This is called stalking and the idea that an attorney in the state government was behaving in this matter is completely unacceptable. Case closed and good riddance to it.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

I can't imagine a scenario where Shirvell could retain his position after his incredibly off the wall behaviors. He does represent the State because he works for the State and what he does reflects on the State's attitudes as well. Harassing law abiding citizens just because you don't like them is not a desirable behavior for any elected or appointed official. Political affiliations aside, the State had no choice in this matter. Both Mr. Shirvell's and Mr. Cox's behaviors and responses appear to reflect their personal belief system which they acted upon with the power of their State held positions. If we believe in the role and responsibililty of the offices held by these men, then we are relieved by the decision to fire Mr. Shirvell.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:46 p.m.

Was there any violation of any law or rule given for his firing? In the past Shirvell had been disciplined for making statements to media without disclosure to the Attorney General's Office in disregard of depatmental guidelines. My apprehension would be that the firing was for something that may be an abridgment of his First Amendment rights under the Free Speech Clause. If so, the state can expect vigorous appeals in the court system as well as a possible civil rights suit. Expect Shirvell to be made into an iconic martyr by right wing activists and to land a position with a ultraconservative political think tank like Bernhard Goetz did.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:45 p.m.

I don't think cyber bullying, harassment or stalking are included in our right to free speech, even if it was done on his own time. I think Shirvell got what he deserved. Even if he isn't disbarred (which I think he should be), I bet he'll have a hard time finding another job as an attorney anywhere. Who would want to hire someone that's so unprofessional?


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:44 p.m.

This is exactly what should have happened. It was all about someone at the highest level of law enforcement in state government doing illegal things. We need our legal system to be impartial. I breathe a sigh of relief over this one. This makes us all safer.

Atticus F.

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

Ponycar, it's funny how you attempt to compare wanting to give medical attention to the poor, with a bunch of racist biggots in the KKK. Yes people who are in the KKK have a right to free speach, but I think if Michigans assistant AG was in the Klan, it would be considered unacceptable...So why would you consider it acceptable for the assistant AG to descriminate against any group of people?

Meg Geddes

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:43 p.m.

Radical Homosexual Agenda would be a great name for a band.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:42 p.m.

Thank heavens this is how it turned out...this gentleman, Shirvell...deserves nothing less than firing...he is in a position of authority...he needs to act like an adult. I can't help but wonder why he is so into U of M student he interested in Armstrong??? in an unusual way?????


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:41 p.m.

It's tricky. His speech may have been a personal attack, but I think the actual content is protected under the first amendment. However, he is a government employee, and his actual behavior was not appropriate for his job. A government employee serves all of the people, radical homosexuals, Nazis, Satan's little helpers, and everyone else under the sun. By singling someone out for ridicule, he behaved in a manner that is not suited for someone in his position. Therefore, he should be terminated. And why was he after a student union president, of all people? Jesus Christ get a life man.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

What exactly is the Radical Homosexual agenda? Are they trying to take over this country and make it a theocracy like the radical Christians in the US or the radical Muslims in Afghanistan? What is "their" agenda? I am a little fuzzy?


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

You are allowed to say anything you want, as long as it does not amount to yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. Other people are also allowed to denounce what you have a right to say, and call for your job. The solution to hateful speech is more speech. People let the AG's office know exactly what they thought.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

@ponycar Shirvell has the right to free speech. He doesn't have the right to slander or the right to stalking, however. And sometimes there are unexpected consequences to our actions. His actions clearly put his employer in a compromising position.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:32 p.m.

What a shame that this balanced, well-meaning, un-biased public servant would lose his job over something as frivolous as a homophobic attack. Oh wait, that's my sarcasm sneaking in there. Nevermind.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

Shirvell should have resigned.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

Let me start by saying I think Shirvell is a bit over the top in how he chooses to express his free speech rights. However, that being said, I wonder how HIS rights are different from anyone else who has potentially unpopular views. The KKK rally morons and/or President Obama at a speech about health care reform could both potentially be unpopular topics but they have the right to express them. Are Shirvells rights different because he works for the State? If so, does every State employee know they could be fired for any politically unpopular thing they might happen to say? Maybe that's the case. At least they're being well compensated via my tax payments for giving up their rights.

Bob Needham

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:30 p.m.

(Two comments removed due to name calling)


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:29 p.m.

I think its most unfortunate, Thomas said. This whole thing has a political aroma to me. I think my client is a victim of the liberal media piling on." The liberal media: At once a dying dinosaur that is completely irrelevant and taken seriously by no one, and at the same time the most all-powerful, destructive force in America, capable of snapping its fingers and getting an assistant AG fired. Amazing, isn't it?

rusty shackelford

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

Radical Homosexual Agenda: 1. Andrew Shirvell: 0.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:09 p.m.

Good. I believe Cox had his arm twisted on this one.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3:03 p.m.

Top Cat you said it

Atticus F.

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 3 p.m.

It's hard to believe that Mike Cox defended these actions as being acceptable for someone who holds a public office, and weilds alot of power...Actually, knowing Mike Cox's far right stance, maybe it's not too hard to believe.


Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

Looks like some political gamesmanship going on. Let the lame duck AG take care of the mess for the new administration. I am sure he will be rewarded for taking one on the chin for the team. I do agree with the reasoning though, it could make for a hostile work environment, and one where it is hard to get things done with that type of distraction. As an aside, if they ever make a made for TV movie about this Paul Reubens has to be the first in line to tryout for the role of Shirvell.

Top Cat

Mon, Nov 8, 2010 : 2:51 p.m.

We reap what we sow.