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Posted on Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:33 p.m.

U-M's Chris Armstrong files request to have assistant state attorney general Andrew Shirvell disbarred

By David Jesse

Chris Armstrong wants to have Michigan Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell disbarred.

Armstrong, the University of Michigan's student body president, filed a request today for an investigation into Shirvell’s conduct toward him, Armstrong's attorney, Deborah Gordon of Bloomfield Hills, said in a press release.

“I felt I could not stand by and let Mr. Shirvell continue his reckless, bullying behavior,” Armstrong said in the press release.


In this Sept. 7 photo, U-M alumnus and assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell speaks about Chris Armstrong at a Michigan Student Assembly meeting.

Marissa McClain | The Michigan Daily

The move caps an eventful week in the ongoing controversy surrounding the two. 

On Monday, Armstrong dropped a request for a personal protection order against Shirvell, who has been writing an anti-Armstrong blog and showing up in public to picket him. On Tuesday, Washtenaw County prosecutors declined the U-M Department of Public Safety’s request for stalking charges against Shirvell. 

This afternoon, Shirvell met with campus police officials to appeal a trespass order that bars him from any U-M owned-property.

The Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission said today that all administrators were busy and would respond to press inquiries on Monday.

Shirvell was admitted to the bar in May 2007.

“I’m wondering about the timing,” said Shirvell’s attorney, Philip Thomas, who ran the Attorney Grievance Commission from 1990 for about eight years. “There’s been nothing new. There’s been no adverse contact. What this smacks of to me is this just media mongering. Why the press release? Why didn’t they send copies of the grievance to me? I don’t have copies of the grievance here, but I can tell if you look at the press release is what is missing from there is any threats of any kind (from Shirvell to Armstrong). I don’t understand where this is going.”

Armstrong, the first openly gay student body president at U-M, has come under intense protests from Shirvell. Shirvell claims those protests are protected by his constitutional right to free speech.

In his filing today, Armstrong asked for an investigation and disbarring of Shirvell on “the grounds that he has repeatedly violated the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct by making obviously false, disgusting and utterly outlandish allegations about Armstrong’s lifestyle and personal behavior and by trying to get Armstrong ousted from a summer internship on Capitol Hill,” the press release said.


This 2010 file photo shows Chris Armstrong in Ann Arbor.

Sam Wolson | The Michigan Daily

Armstrong’s request cites Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 8.4, which says: “it is professional; misconduct for a lawyer to … engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or violation of the criminal law, where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer,” the release said.

In addition to Armstrong’s complaint, Gordon filed a complaint of her own against Shirvell, citing Rule of Professional Conduct 8.3, which “obligates lawyers to report instances of professional misconduct that come to their attention,” the release said

“It has come to my attention that Mr. Shirvell has engaged in a pattern of conduct that is untrustworthy, dishonest, tortious, possibly criminal and calculated to bring disrepute to the Bar of the state of Michigan,” Gordon wrote in her letter to the attorney grievance commission. “He has apparently lied about and defamed Mr. Armstrong solely because he is openly gay. It is impossible to imagine how someone so willing to lie and distort, and has done so relentlessly, can operate as an officer of the court and a licensed attorney.”

Gordon also wrote a cease and desist letter to Thomas, alleging Shirvell has “continually demeaned and lied about Chris Armstrong.”

“Mr. Shirvell is plainly out of control and has been obsessed wit Mr. Armstrong," the letter said. "As an attorney licensed in the state of Michigan and assistant attorney general for the state, he is regularly engaging in hate speech, smears, defamation and outright lies. It is incomprehensible that some who purports to be a mature adult, an attorney and a member of the Attorney Generals’ office would conduct himself in such manner."

The letter goes to demand Shirvell issue retractions to every statement he’s made about Armstrong, stop “any stalking behavior and harassing conduct directed at Armstrong,” and preserve all evidence that relates to his conduct with Armstrong.

Thomas said he and Shirvell became aware of the complaint following the 30- to 45-minute meeting they had with U-M Deputy Police Chief Joe Piersante appealing the trespass ban. Thomas said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the meeting or his impression of it, but said he expects to hear a ruling on Monday.

Also next week, Shirvell is expected to appear in front of the state Civil Service Commission. Shirvell is on a personal leave from his job.

According to Shirvell’s personnel file, obtained by through a Freedom of Information Act request, Shirvell has been in trouble with his office in the recent past.

According to the file, Shirvell was suspended for 2.5 days — from 1 p.m. Aug. 31 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 2 — for “conduct unbecoming a State employee, specifically your conduct with regard to an incident which occurred on Tuesday, August 24, 2010 during which you displayed unacceptable conduct,” Douglas J. Bramble, director of the Attorney General’s Office of Human Resources, wrote in a letter to Shirvell. Specifics were not included.

In addition, Shirvell received a written reprimand for not reporting media contact from WXYZ, Channel 7 on Aug. 18. Shirvell did an interview then about his blog with the Detroit television station. The Attorney General’s Office reprimanded him because Shirvell was asked several questions about his professional conduct and didn't report those contacts to the media office in the department.

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



Tue, Nov 2, 2010 : 10:37 a.m.

I doubt this Shirvell guy is rich. He's 3 years removed from passing the bar exam and works for the state. I'd be surprised if this was done to "angle" for a civil suit when the guy he's planning on suing likely has little to no money. Getting Shirvell disbarred would only further exacerbate that problem. I think Armstrong is looking to hit this guy where it hurts, and make sure that he will think twice before behaving like this again. Hopefully it works.

mike from saline

Mon, Nov 1, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

@ermg Who lied about wmds?

mike from saline

Mon, Nov 1, 2010 : 8:09 a.m.

When in doubt, err on the side of free speech!


Sun, Oct 31, 2010 : 8:12 p.m.

"Andrew Shirvell has no right to express "his free speech" because he is a state government officer." Chris Armstrong has no right to express "his free speech" because he is a student government officer.


Sun, Oct 31, 2010 : 6:55 p.m.

@ERMG- I don't think I called you a "liberal" (The moderators might call that name calling:). In fact my example of an abortion protester would almost certainly be a Republican. The example only changes the case to a protest that is more socially acceptable and has more case law but it does not reverse the liberal/conservative perspective. I think duration is not as important as the ability to carry out the threat. Thus, a prosecutor that threatens to "bury" you is a credible threat that should have significant consequences. The state police are only going to decide if it rises to the level of a crime. As in Mr. Shirvell's case, no one has proven a crime but they are still calling for disbarment. As far as standing, according to Ms. Gordon's explaination, any lawyer has not only the standing but the obligation to report misconduct to the commission. Judging from some of the responses on this topic, some of the commentors are probably lawyers.


Sun, Oct 31, 2010 : 4:42 p.m.

"State police to probe Macomb County prosecutor's irate phone call to candidate." From The Detroit News: Should this prosecutor be disbarred for threatening a candidate for county commissioner to "bury him". That is certainly a threat to take seriously when it comes from a prosecutor. Shirvell couldn't do anything to Armstrong except maybe embarrass him. He never threatened to harm Mr. Armstrong physically and he didn't even have the power to fire him from his internship. So I would take a threat from the prosecutor much more seriously because he actually has the power to back it up. How many of you who are cheering to disbar Mr. Shirvell will file a complaint against prosecutor Eric Smith?


Sun, Oct 31, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

@ERMG-If Shirvell was participating in protests aimed at a doctor who performs abortion, let's say he pickets the doctor's house & clinic, let's say he videotapes people going in and out of the doctor's house & clinic, let's say he pickets the doctor's church, let's say he posts a lot of insulting rhetoric on a blog. Now let's say that a Democratic AG wants to fire him. Even if it is legal to fire him, is that OK? Should the doctor be able to have him disbarred? Should the University of Michigan use public funds to pay the lawyer that files the complaint? If the doctor works sometimes at the UM, should the University of Michigan use a trespass warning and bar him from campus for life (including public streets in Ann Arbor, over which the campus police have jurisdiction)?


Sun, Oct 31, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

@ERMG Nice to see a liberal actually come to the conclusion, and acknowledge, that people should generally, if not always, be held accountable for their actions, whether they are done under the auspices of a guaranteed right or not. I could quibble with a few things you said, such as the idea that the duration of a misdeed is all that useful in determining its severity (I could murder someone in well under ten seconds, for example), or that we should make a habit of arranging lies under oath in tiers of meaningfulness according to what they were about and according to our own value systems, but I actually didn't have any really major problems with your post. Shirvell has probably done nothing illegal, but I would hardly choose to behave the way he has, whatever my disagreements might be with a man like Armstrong. My efforts were not meant to say that Shirvell should not be fired for his actions so much as they were motivated by the observation that many libs will flip flop on this kind of determination depending on the sympathy they have with the "malefactor," usually toward the side of irresponsibility, since it is usually those with whom they sympathize who are doing the malefaction. I will leave you with a question, however. I have no idea what Shirvell's religious affiliations are, and this hypothetical has nothing to do with his beliefs. Let's just say that the "victim" in this case were less of a "sacred cow," and that his adversary were just as much of one as Armstrong is. So, let's say a gay activist public servant had decided to wage a similar campaign against a law-abiding, but very outspoken conservative Christian. Or, let's take it one step further and figure out who would be even more vilified by the liberals flocking to Armstrong's aid, and say that the target of this gay public servant's ire and relentless campaign is a leader of the Aryan Nation. Would you feel as strongly that the gay public servant should be fired? Personally, I highly doubt that many liberals would give a hoot. The degree to which your emotions about the case would change is the degree to which this case is about gayness being a ticket to obligitory honorariness in the liberal community and about how anyone who dares to speak against homosexuality should automatically be considered a pariah. You see, it's not what you libs are saying about this case that bothers me, it's why you are saying it.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8:03 p.m.

Gordon on firm ground, Ingersoll seems still confused. This might add clarity for review:


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 6:46 p.m.

Somehow, I thought personal rights, especially the right to free speech, were germane to the subject, seeing how the article speaks directly to the fact that Shirvell is claiming that he should not be punished for exercising his right to free speech. I also thought that it would be instructive to consider past cases where not private but, indeed, professional misconduct of public figures had been rationalized away by some of the very the same people who are now decrying Shirvell's non-professional (meaning personal) actions. Perhaps it was silly of me, but I should have thought that professional misconduct had more to do with considerations of one's professionalism and on-the-job accountability than do one's nefarious private-life activities. Cash just doesn't seem to agree.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 5:53 p.m.

Scylding, Tangents beyond this article are to go to the Wall.

Paul Taylor

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 5:36 p.m.

@Jim Osborn: it wasn't me who said that. I got my degree down the road.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 4:51 p.m.

Scylding "The true threshold between public and private, in this context, is the line between professional and personal. You are confusing that threshold with the one that exists at your front door. Your argument is faulty." Sorry, my argument is valid....definitions: Public: open to the view of all; existing or conducted in public: a public dispute. Private: personal and not publicly expressed: one's private feelings. It's quite clear really. All the words in the world or "context" does not change the facts. Shirvell's behavior was PUBLIC. Shirvells actions were public actions...a website open to the public and his behavior on the campus of a state university and at this young man's home while he had a house party.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

@Cash The true threshold between public and private, in this context, is the line between professional and personal. You are confusing that threshold with the one that exists at your front door. Your argument is faulty. Look, I dont like what Shirvells done, either, but that doesnt mean I am going to let you libs be hypocrites and to get away with it. He did this on his own time, under his own steam, with his own resources. He did it as a private individual, not as a public servant. He did not do it with public resources, as far as I know, or on public property. The cigar event? Oval office; lied about it in a grand jury. Get the diff? Yet, since you did not protest about my picking on the Clinton issue, I perceive that you defended him at the time. How do you reconcile your defense of Clinton and your excoriation of Shirvell? How about we consider Letterman as another, instructive example, who publicly and professionally (meaning, on the job) joked about 14 year-old Willow Palin being knocked up by Alex Rodriguez. Bet you gave him a pass, too, eh? Even though he did it on the job? Whats worse, saying some nasty things about a grown, high-profile gay man or making a joke about the statutory rape of a sweet, young girl whos just trying to be a normal kid? So, tell us truly, where did you stand on Letterman, eh?


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

Scylding, Shirvell has not been private about his behavior. He has openly followed Armstrong around campus and stood at his house...videotaped him at his own home. He had a wide-open website lambasting Armstrong. There was nothing private about that. Shirvell made his homophobia public and that's the problem.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 2:40 p.m.

From article: "it is professional; misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or violation of the criminal law, where such conduct reflects adversely on the lawyers honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer..." Professional misconduct for a lawyer to engage in conduct involving dishonesty? What a joke! By this standard, over 90% of defense attorneys would have to be disbarred, as they have tried fully to exonerate defendants whom they know to be guilty. I once asked an Ann Arbor defense attorney how he manages to conscience trying to exonerate people he knows are guilty. His answer: "my job is to defend, not to consider guilt." In other words, he is a professional hider of the truth. Sounds like dishonesty to me... I agree with Stunhsif. Armstrong is obsessed. Furthermore, he is promoting a narrow interpretation of rule 8.4 that a ridiculous number of lawyers in this state, alone, would fail. Furthermore, I find it interesting to hear, from this crowd, that what a man does in his private life should be considered so relevant to his public life. That's not what they were saying when there was high profile "private" activity going on in the Oval Office that involved a cigar, a very young woman, and a blue dress, even after the perpetrator lied about it under oath.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 2:29 p.m.

Silly Sally, "While a majority of Americans find homosexual behavior repulsive, they are willing to leave them alone, but stop at p[lacing their lifestyle on a pedestal. " "The majority of Americans find homosexual behavior repulsive?" Hmmm....was that survey done by Shirvell or you? And exactly WHO placed their "lifestyle" on a pedestal? (and since when is sexual preference a lifestyle???) Asking for the same rights as others have as addressed in my and Maive's posts back and forth isn't putting anyone on a pedestal. It is called equality. _______________ "Many politicians are paid by those who do not support their views." Sorry but being gay is not a "view", it is who a person IS. _______________ "If Mr. Shirvell were to get his job back, I doubt it the AG would assign him to such a case." Well, that's not the word of Cox, that's the word of Silly Sally. Cox has not made that statement.

David Briegel

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 1:41 p.m.

Silly Sally, You are correct. Some Americans feel they have the Mythological Right to act in a discriminatory and even bigotted manner against some of their fellow citizens. When someone tells you that you can't have certain rights and privileges because you believe in a certain Mythology, only then will YOU understand. Best Wishes for a better America that can approach the ideals that most of us hold dear.

Silly Sally

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 12:48 p.m.

@ Cash said, "So that is a gay agenda? Isn't that the same thing every American wants for themselves? So every American including gays have the same can you call it a gay agenda? That is a American Agenda" Hardly. A majority of Americans want marriage to be between a man and a woman. While a majority of Americans find homosexual behavior repulsive, they are willing to leave them alone, but stop at p[lacing their lifestyle on a pedestal. As far as a "gay agenda", one UM example is the lobbying to add transgender restrooms. We already have unisex and family bathrooms at UM, why add yet another class. If a restroom only holds one person, where is the need for describing who uses it or what goes on inside? It is part of an agenda. "He is paid by our hard-earned tax dollars....and that includes a lot of tax dollars earned by gay citizens!" Many politicians are paid by those who do not support their views. If Mr. Shirvell were to get his job back, I doubt it the AG would assign him to such a case. No, not every American has the same "agenda".


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 12:04 p.m.

Shirvell does not work for Mike Cox. Shirvell works for YOU and ME. He is paid by our hard-earned tax dollars....and that includes a lot of tax dollars earned by gay citizens! I don't know if this guy is a political appointee of Cox but I'd hope the next AG uses better judgment in hiring people with our tax money. Does anyone believe that if he represented us (the state) in a case involving a gay person that he could be fair and follow the law? I sure don't. He's "out there"...with an abnormal obsession. And yet, gay people are helping to pay his salary.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

I conceed. Great call!

Elizabeth Nelson

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 11:41 a.m.

I've read all the comments here and no one has yet pointed out another piece of this: isn't Shirvell currently fighting U of M's "trespass" order? Has that been resolved yet? Shirvell wants to be allowed on campus again and I assume that then he would simply carry on with harrassing Armstrong in the name of 'free speech' (insert eye roll here). When I first read the article above, my thought was that Armstrong might feel a valid, justified need to keep this in the news IN CASE Shirvell can get the trespass order lifted and simply carry on with the harassment on campus. So far, Shirvell does not seem to be getting the message that his behavior is completely inappropriate-- with the exception of U of M, no one else with any authority is forcing Shirvell to accept the consequences for his behavior. This is the most logical thing that Armstrong could do as a next step, it makes perfect sense to me.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

SMaive, "Sure, to marry the consenting adult I love who may be of the same sex, provide my partner with benefits without being penalized by the IRS, to have the exact same rights as married heterosexual couples, to adopt children, to be able to live anywhere in the United States and not be denied these rights." So that is a gay agenda? Isn't that the same thing every American wants for themselves? So every American including gays have the same can you call it a gay agenda? That is a American Agenda.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 10:03 a.m.

Why is this even news? One man made a point as President of the Student Body, and another man reacted to it. Shouldn't Armstrong just "man up" and ignore it, or take it for what it is, a matter that can be ignored? When Armstrong ran for office, he should have known that his views could create controversy, and they have. So what? He has not been injured, and has, in fact received lots of sympathy.

David Briegel

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 9:57 a.m.

Maybe it is the "justice" that has thus far been denied by the authorites responsible for our system of InJustice


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 9:48 a.m.

Oh my, @Basic Bob. Don't we know what we're talking about. "Retributive justice is a theory of justice that considers that punishment, if proportionate, is a morally acceptable response to crime, with an eye to the satisfaction and psychological benefits it can bestow to the aggrieved party, its intimates and society." Perhaps Chrisy might forgo the need to justify himself and proceed, in his job, as a confident and competent leader. Let's move this away from a crime and get a life.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

Sure, to marry the consenting adult I love who may be of the same sex, provide my partner with benefits without being penalized by the IRS, to have the exact same rights as married heterosexual couples, to adopt children, to be able to live anywhere in the United States and not be denied these rights. All of which have nothing to do with denying freedom of speech, religion or destruction of family values which seem to be the mind set of so many ill-informed individuals.

Basic Bob

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 9:41 a.m.

This is not Karma, it is retributive justice.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 9:21 a.m.

This is an absurdity, a narcissistic use of funds and time and attention grand standing. Rome Burns, and Armstrong "wants his due." How petty.

David Briegel

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

Mr. Shirvell does NOT have a right to be an atty. Even they have standards that he obviously cannot meet. Mr. Shirvell does NOT have a right to be an Asst Atty Gen. They used to have standards before he and Mike Cox chose to obliterate them. Maybe all those with the mythical gay agenda should find the addresses of their oppononents and behave like a sworn law enforcement official behaves. Now THAT would be justice! Karma indeed!


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 9:01 a.m.

SMAIVE, Yes, you do need to go on, please. What is the "gay agenda" as you put it? You state that there is what is it?


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8:47 a.m.

Common sense should tell anyone that Shivrell's behavior crossed the line - he has every right to feel anyway he wants to feel, but to have behaved in this manner is unacceptable! It was Shivrell who began this course of events.....when you set out to harm another human being and the harm comes to you, that's called Karma!!


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8:46 a.m.

Yes, there is a Gay Agenda. Just like there is a Republican agenda, a Democrat agenda, a conservative agenda, a liberal agenda, a religious agenda, a Tea Party agenda, etc. Need I go on? I don't see any of thes being singled out as being any worse than the others.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8:38 a.m.

Ridiculous. Move on Chris and quit wasting everyone's time. And now, Mr. Armstrong is plainly out of control and obsessed with Mr. Shirvell.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

Ridiculous. Shirvell clearly is a bigot idiot. Further, he probably shouldn't have a job with the Attorney General's Office. However, his views are not illegal, and depriving him of a means to employ himself is the behavior of a zealot.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 8:25 a.m.

There IS a gay agenda. It is called equality. It would be nice if the officers of the court followed the rules we see lawyers follow on TV, but very many don't. Those that do are heros for doing so in the system in which they operate. I think Armstrong is making a mistake. This looks retaliatory and vindictive. He is surrendering the high moral ground. Also, the bar is likely to find, as did Cox and our prosecutor's office, that this IS protected speech. Dropping the PPO request before Judge Francis is likely because she signaled she would rule the same and if Shirvell does cross the line in the future failure today can make future applications more difficult. Fewer and fewer people are willing to support the points of view expressed by Shirvell. Let's not give their cause a martyr.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 7:55 a.m.

@Tom...would you mind elaborating what this so called 'gay agenda' is? Don't worry Shirvell couldn't either...

Jim Osborn

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

I do not agree with either side in this case. Both are wrong, and both exhibit improper public behavior.

Jim Osborn

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 7:31 a.m.

UtresspassM states that "Andrew Shirvell has no right to express "his free speech" because he is a state government officer..." Paul Taylor gives a perfect example of the political correctness at UM: "As a U-M graduate, I'd love to see the University revoke this creep's degree." He wants UM to hold the threat of taking away earned degrees due to behavior, even political thought. Even the unibomber retains his UM degree. Tru2Blu follows up with "maximum protection possible against abuse by government officials". What is incorrect is that Andrew Shirvell did this on his own time, not in his capacity as a government official. It seems that many want only politically correct free speech. Does this censoring extend to politicians, too? Mr. Shirvell did nothing criminal that merits him being disbarred. He has left himself open to a civil lawsuit, and for a jury to decide if he went too far. All the rest is an attempt by Chris Armstrong to taint the jury pool and to have taxpayers pay for much of his legal expenses for him. What is scary is how so many want to curtail free speech that they disagree with. Chris Armstrong is a public official who made what should be his personal life very public, giving someone such as Mr. Shirvell a topic to attack. It seems that many do not want any political debate on certain topics that they disagree with.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 7:11 a.m.

>i>Probably time for Armstrong to focus on being president, unless that position is just the figurehead it seems to be from the amount of time he spends preening in front of Had you ever heard of Mr. Armstrong prior to his public harassment by an assistant attorney general? Perhaps you could cite an example of his "preening" prior to being accused of having a "radical homosexual agenda"?


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 7:10 a.m.

"I felt I could not stand by and let Mr. Shirvell continue his reckless, bullying behavior, Armstrong said in the press release." Does anyone else see the irony here? The real bully here is Chris Armstrong. Anyone who does not fully support the "Gay Agenda" will recieve similar treatment.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 7:09 a.m.

I think the most interesting thing I learned is that Chase Ingersoll was disbarred. And he went after John Dingell for his ethics? Fascinating! When Mister Shirvell put his rant on a public blog, he lost his right to privacy. When he showed up at Armstrongs house at 1:00 am, he lost his right to privacy in this matter. Shirvells attempt was to call out a gay man in public, hoping to shame him, now he wants the litigation to be a "private matter"? I think not. Shirvells duty should have been protecting citizens constitutional rights, not personnel vendettas against individuals which may lead to the individuals loss of rights to associate with whom he pleases, to live in domestic tranquility, to have his constitutional right to practice homosexuality (upheld by the Supreme Court) etc. Shirvells actions are most disturbing considering from whom he draws a paycheck. Let him go to work for Thomas Moore, and maybe he can start winning them some cases, as their record leaves much to be desired.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 6:56 a.m.

Shrivell lit the match and poured on the fuel. When you play with fire you get burned.

Chip Reed

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 6:46 a.m.

@chase ingersoll. it's a bit ironic that you, of all people, would question other people's behavior. ever hear that old song "how i wish i was in peoria"?

5c0++ H4d13y

Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 6:19 a.m.

This saga has officially jumped the shark.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : 4:37 a.m.

'Im wondering about the timing, said Shirvells attorney, Philip Thomas, who ran the Attorney Grievance Commission from 1990 for about eight years. Theres been nothing new.' ______________ Hmmm....Mr Thomas, not all of us run around with a big name attorney at our disposal! Perhaps it took him more than 30 seconds to find an attorney and talk to them. Obviously, in Shirvells position he has a whole array of attorneys to select from, and Tom Monaghans Ave Maria group to help him as well.


Sat, Oct 30, 2010 : midnight

I agree with Marshall and UTrespass... This Armstrong kid sounds weak. He needs to toughen up! So what if a state official is showing up at your house at 1 in the morning to video tape and harassing you and your friends wherever you go! Stop sleeping with guys and go to church Armstrong... you brought this on yourself!


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

What Paul Taylor said, both times. This is simply not acceptable behavior for anyone, let alone an attorney.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

I believe Chris Armstrong's grievance in this matter is correct. Shirvell should be disbarred. He is an an officer of the court, and his conduct should reflect that responsibility.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 8:03 p.m.

"Andrew Shirvell has no right to express "his free speech" because he is a state government officer." This is really scary.

David Cahill

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 7:44 p.m.

The filing of this grievance highlights the fact that attorneys have standards they must meet outside their law practices. In reality, though, discipline of attorneys for this "outside" conduct is rare. Every month the Michigan Bar Journal publishes orders of discipline. Nearly all of them fall into two categories: Neglecting cases or misappropriating clients' funds. Many of the rest are discipline as the result of convictions of crimes. I expect that this grievance will be a "landmark case" one way or another.

Chase Ingersoll

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 7:34 p.m.

I read attorney Gordon's letters and PRESS RELEASE. BACKGROUND: In January 1996 an attorney petitioned a county electoral board to deny my nomination petitions to a county office. He had another attorney represent him. I was out of state when they filed the petition and conducted the hearing, so I wasn't even served for it. When I got back to town, I appealed the ruling to the circuit court and won. Then I sued the two attorneys personally for defamation and malicious civil prosecution based upon the petition they had filed before the election board AND the letter that they had sent to the Attorney Grievance Commission in Illinois (ARDC) alleging that I had filed false nominating petitions. By August 1996 I had subpoenaed the letter to the ARDC and used it when I took the depositions of the two Attorneys who were members of two of the oldest firms in town and at least one was a board member of the Bar Association (I had to represent myself). After the depositions their malpractice defense attorney requested that I propose a settlement. The next day it was accepted. This wasn't the only case I had against an attorney(s) who settled after I took their (the attorney's) deposition. Between 1995 and 1997, I had at least a incidents where attorneys requested investigations of me by sending letters OR telephoning the ARDC/Grievance Commission, the Administrator could also initiate an investigation from an article in the newspaper. Referrals to the Administrator were not public. They were confidential. Investigations were also confidential. If the Administrator filed charges, then it would be public and the Administrator would issue a press release. It is concerning that Attorney Deborah Gordon is not letting that same, quiet, confidential process work here in Michigan which uses the same model Rules of Professional Conduct that are used in Illinois. From my experience with attorneys who represent attorneys who are being sued, (I actually got along with those attorneys) they would cringe if they read the public letters and press releases that have been issued by Deborah Gordon. Part of the reason for the confidential process is to protect the attorney who has been accused of a violation, but the other reason is to protect the complaining attorney of a counter-charge to their ethics for using the ethics violation investigation process to publicly denigrate a fellow officer of the court. Armstrong is not helped in his prosecution of a civil case against Shirvell or a defense of a case by Shirvell against Armstrong for his attorney to have publicly issued the letters or press release. There is the potential for her to be drug into the civil case as a witness or to be sued herself. A decade after being disbarred, if you were to ask me to identify the primary causes, I would say that the most obvious reason is because I came out of law school and within my first year and a half had sued at least 6 attorneys, threatened to sue at least a dozen more and had complained to the grievance commission about any number of others. But the less obvious reason was that I had sympathies for my clients, which led me to rely on their mis-statements without the same degree of investigation that I probably would have used if I had not been personally sympathetic. Comparing Philip Thomas' statements [Shirvell's attorney] to Gordon's [Armstrong] public statements I think Deborah Gordon is erring on the side of showing her personal sympathies to Armstrong rather than a thorough investigation of the client's allegations and research into the applicable law. I reviewed her website. She has a lot of other clients that really like her so it would be a shame for her and her firm to get dragged into something that was not what she might think it to be.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 7:29 p.m.

Enough already!


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 7:15 p.m.

I agree with much of this sentiment, however, let's understand the Attorney Generals office situation: Shirvell is on leave as I understand it. Given that, he's protected to a certain degree from discharge. I am sure Cox and others would LOVE to see the back of Mr. Shirvell but as we can clearly see he & his Attorney are going to hop on any infraction in the system against him so the State will move carefully. The State Bar will be even more conservative! I've no hope they will do anything. Attorneys and Judges are allowed to practice with the most heinous records and the "old Boy's Club" wont do anything to police their own and it will all be quite hush hush. They don't believe in transparency!

Urban Sombrero

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:52 p.m.

Good for Armstrong! Shirvell put his foot in his mouth, behaved inappropriately and is now, hopefully, going to pay for it. He's getting his just desserts.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:47 p.m.

Armstrong is showing Shirvell that gay men and women are not going to take his crap. I hardly think Thomas is a distinguished lawyer. his high profile case went up a lawyer who beat him like a bad habit. Name anything significant he has won. The best way Armstrong can handle this is to kick ass and take names.

Paul Taylor

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:43 p.m.

As long as Shirvell's blog, which identifies Armstrong BY NAME, remains online, the harassment continues. The fact that it is closed to all but invitees only heightens the personal nature of it. We live in the US, and money talks. If the way to teach Shirvell a lesson is to go after him for money, then I hope he has deep pockets, because THAT IS HOW WE AMERICANS ROLL. If he missed that in lawyer school, that's just too damn bad.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:43 p.m.

I have felt all along that the key issue in this story was the behavior of Shirvell. It is really creepy to have someone in the top echelons of law enforcement for the state do the stalking, harassment, and other frightening things that he has done. It has been said that "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely." If we let someone in the top ranks get away with this because they disagree with a person who will be next? We must keep those in power in check when they abuse their power. This is the way to do it, as far as I'm concerned. Let him and others who would do this know that their power will be taken from them if they abuse it in such a flagrant manner. I support LGBT rights. But this is not the issue here. If an unbalanced person is in power. That person must be removed from power or they will do more damage. I'm glad that Armstrong is courageous enough to do this. It's for all of us, gay or straight.

Marshall Applewhite

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:27 p.m.

I agree with Macabre. Armstrong is now just using this story to obtain some sort of monetary gain. Let it go already.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:20 p.m.

I do agree: Andrew Shirvell has no right to express "his free speech" because he is a state government officer. But, if Mr. Shirvell was one of the ordinary folks like us, he would be arrested by UM police a long time ago. In Ann Arbor, we, including the prosecutors all work for UM.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:14 p.m.

Good move Armstrong. The actions, attitude, and behavior of Shirvell goes against the oath he took to become a lawyer. He should be disbarred.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 6:06 p.m.

Very good move by Mr. Armstrong and his attorney. If Cox is too weak and spineless to do the right thing and fire this weasel, at least maybe the legal process will remove him from the profession. As a U-M graduate, I'd love to see the University revoke this creep's degree, but I know that will never happen.

Paul Taylor

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:54 p.m.

As a mature adult, I don't feel any sympathy for Shirvell. Once he turned 18, the rules changed for him, as they do for us all. When he got his law degree, that, too came with certain rules. When he took a job in civil service, again, it came with rules. The guy seems to have problems with the rules that govern civilized society. When you break rules, there are consequences. I thought conservatives were all about that, no? Not when they're the ones caught in the act, of course. IOKIYAR.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:53 p.m.

Shirvell's most fitting punishment is living the rest of his life as himself.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:10 p.m.

This is getting silly and sad on both sides. I have a lot of friends who are LBGT and believe it is their right to be so and as out as they want to be. I also have to deal with folks who are deathly afraid of people who what to talk at all about sex or sexuality. It just is not done in their world - it is a very private matter. In the military I had to deal with folks who were scared of anyone who was different, that was their background. I think I can see all sides and I am so sad this became such a mess. I feel for everyone directly and indirectly involved.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:07 p.m.

This is a good first step... preceding a defamation suit of course :-)


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:04 p.m.

The Gordon letter to Philip Thomas clearly shows that a civil suit may be in the offing. The funny thing about this scenario is that tens of thousands of times each year in this state similar scenarios occur. Usually its boyfriend/girlfriend relationships gone sour, neighbors that despise each other, business relationships gone bad. In this case, both sides have angled to make this a mountain from a molehill and both may seek hefty paydays from civil rights lawsuits against Shirvell by Armstrong and against U-M by Shirvell. Neither of those suits would necessarily be frivolous. Both these litigants are developing national personas and are probably going to wind up down the road on the talk show circuit and be considered icons of the left and right. It is noteworthy that both have retained two of the premier lawyers in Metro Detroit. Mr. Phil Thomas has worked for the Judicial Tenure Commission and was Grievance Administrator for the Attorney Grievance Commission. His most notable actions were going after Geoffrey Fieger for grievance issues and losing. He now defends criminal cases, among other things. Deborah Gordon is the daughter of former television talk show host Lou Gordon. Her most visible case recently was a 1 million dollar settlement against an Oakland County District Court in connection with a wrongful discharge suit by a court clerk.


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5:03 p.m.

Why not? Andrew Shirvell deserves it!


Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 5 p.m.

this makes a bit more sense to me in that the bar has rules about appropriate behavior that he swore to uphold when getting his license. I like this approach much better. I like that this will effect his career, these complaints go on his record as an attorney and that will make it harder for him to practice in other states or in D.C....much better.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Oct 29, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

Now I'm starting to feel sorry for Shirvell. He has been found guilty in the Court of Political Correctness. And I'm 100% in favor of gay rights, marriage, divorce, equality, etc. This does seem like grandstanding in advance of a money-grabbing lawsuit. One which the taxpayers, no doubt, will have to foot the bill. Probably time for Armstrong to focus on being president, unless that position is just the figurehead it seems to be from the amount of time he spends preening in front of