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Posted on Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 2:47 p.m.

Assistant AG Andrew Shirvell appears before state attorney general panel, but no ruling made

By David Jesse

Andrew Shirvell spent four hours this morning in front of the state attorney general office, but left without any decision on his future employment with the state, his attorney said.

Shirvell, a state assistant attorney general, has been at the center of an ongoing controversy about a blog he authored targeting University of Michigan student body President Chris Armstrong, claiming Armstrong has a “radical homosexual agenda.”

Shirvell has been on a personal leave of absence from his job, where he works in the appellate division of Attorney General Mike Cox’s office. He is still on that leave, attorney Philip Thomas said as he left the hearing.

“We provided a lot of information to the panel,” Thomas said. “They thought it would be best if they had a little time to digest it. We’re going back in the middle of next week.”

Shirvell has claimed his actions, which also including protesting Armstrong at public appearances, are protected free speech — a claim the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office agreed with when it declined to press stalking charges against him late last month.

Shirvell also 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 earlier this 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.

Thomas said he couldn’t speculate on any discipline the commission might take against Shirvell, if any.

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



Sun, Nov 7, 2010 : 8:15 p.m.

Just because he hasn't been found guilt yet, doesn't mean he may not have broken any laws. Some of his items could be libel or slander, saying he had sex on children's playgrounds and in churches. I think it is all combination of all the things that he has done and as being a representative of the state where he may have defend laws could be a conflict of interest even if it is on his own time. I hope he does get disbarred, and fired, he definitely does deserve it. He should not be a representative of the state and be permitted to harass, stalk, cyber bully, tell obvious lies. He may be skirting the edge of the law on some of the items or using his position get special treatment from the agencies that would probably prosecute a normal person for lesser offenses. I hope the civil service commission goes after him, he get disbarred, and loosed his job as assistant AG.


Sun, Nov 7, 2010 : 2:10 p.m.

Please help my friend! My Friend was read a trespass by U-M police in April 2008 after she reported her former boss, an "red & hot" professor in diabetics research, had spread false rumors about her attempting destroy mouse stem-cell clones she had built before. I know my friend very well. She has been working at U-M for 10 years, a very talented researcher, a very nice and beautiful woman. She never did or would attempt to do anything unprofessional. Now, She works for another professor in the same department. My friend was an U-M employee and doing her work when she was told "You were trespassed U-M property" by the U-M police. My friend told me that she was not visiting the lab; she didn't know that she was not allowed being in the area, and no one ever told her so. The statement in the police report is untrue. My friend appareled her "trespass warning" last Monday. Very unfortunately, she got more limits than ever before. The U-M police decided to ban her from the whole Diabetics Research Center, which is located at 1000 wall street, Ann Arbor, Michigan. After receiving notice from Joseph Piersante, the deputy chief of the DPS, My friend call him and was told, the DPS need to do so, because the professor, a false rumor spreader, has the right to make this request. So we can see that there are no laws, rules and regulations that the U-M police need to follow. They only work for some "important ones" at the University.


Sun, Nov 7, 2010 : 8:05 a.m.

On re-reading tom weiders im a bit more in agreement with him than i first thought...especially the notion that 'free-speech' does not equal' consequence- free speech'..... But i'm still not renewing my ACLU membership given some of the cases they've championed.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 10:13 p.m.

@trespass Don't like multi-gender bathrooms? Don't use 'em. I wouldn't, either. Tom Wieder has said all that needs to be said; let's leave it at that and call it a day.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 7:32 p.m.

These guys throw the book at civilians and ten pussyfoot amongst themselves. The guy is out of line, he's committed an action that resulted in suspension, abused his position of authority, discredited the AG's office, and even if not guilty of a "crime", should be fired for not representing the AG's office in a "professional" manner (not acting like a crazy person) even though it's permitted by free speech. Do you want a crazy person representing our justice system just because free speech allows it? I don't, fire his butt! This is the classic example of how out of touch with reality our government employees are. If he worked for a private company(union exempted) he'd be gone.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 4:03 p.m.

His salary is being paid with OUR tax dollars. Why are we having this discussion?


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 2:28 p.m.

It doesn't matter if anyone of you agree that he should be fired/disbarred or not. If he signed an ethics code (a lot of professions require this and I am pretty sure his is one of them) and violated it he CAN be legally fired or disbarred. The ethics code could restrict your freedom of speech because some speech can violate the ethics code, but it is your CHOICE to sign the code.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

@ypsicat- How about multi-gender bathrooms. That one makes me uncomfortable. Even the sign is difficult to understand (half man/half woman). I am all for gay marriage, gay adoption, equality but I feel uncomfortable in a stall next to a woman. Just call me an old fogey but that is part of the LGBT agenda at UM that I am not ready for.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 10:50 a.m.

lorie makes excellent points, and articulates what I was trying to work out in my head. Mr. Shirvell has the right to free speech, but that does not mean it is suitable for him to work as AG, or as an attorney at law in any capacity. More and more, it seems he is a disturbed individual with a truly unhealthy, unnatural, and unreasonable fixation on Mr. Armstrong.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

tom...this case is part of why im no longer an ACLU member..The group, by supporting those aggressively and obnoxiously infringing on others' freedoms, is like a schizophrenic fireman who's also a pyromaniac. bemused...don't worry about shirvells employability if he's debarred ( and i hope he is!). In showbiz ( after his wonderful turn on the DAILY SHOW) there's always FOX news, and maybe even a starring role in a redo of "peewees playhouse" whose equally prurient-fixated creator he physically resembles. And of course he can get a lecturer gig at his alma mater, the Ave Maria/Thomas More Law school ( aka "ave tom monaghan law school"). (there, moderator, better?? possibly libelous snark involved! just regular and on-point snark!)

Tom Wieder

Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 9:51 a.m.

As a 40-year member of the ACLU, and a member of its Michigan Board, I will vigorously defend Shirvell's First Amendment rights. I'm also somewhat skeptical about stalking laws that can be used to punish what may be just a series of First Amendment-protected activities. None of this means, however, that some punishment or discipline of Shirvell, by either the State Bar or his employer, may not be justified. What your homophobic neignbor may be permitted to do, without consequence, and what a licensed professional and employee of the State's highest law enforcement officer may do are not the same thing. The First Amendment gives each person the freedom to say what he or she wants, not blanket immunity from the consequences. I can say General Motors is evil, but if I worked for GM, I could be fired for doing so, and the First Amendment wouldn't protect me. I can say that all blacks are inferior and should be put back into slavery, but if I were a lawyer working for the Civil Rights Division of the Attorney General's Office, it might be reasonable to fire me for publicly saying the same thing. A layperson may accuse all of the state's judges of being "corrupt whores." A lawyer who said this would probably be violating ethical rules and would be subject to professional discipline. I won't try to judge Shirvell's case before the Civil Service Commission. I don't know its rules, or enough details about his behavior to know how the rules would apply. What is clear is this - the fact that he may not be prosecuted criminally or had the First Amendment right to do and say what he did does not mean that there are no appropriate professional consequences for his actions.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 7:18 a.m.

Free speech means nothing if you exercise and then are fired and/or disbarred for exercising it. Shame on you supporters of free speech who want to destroy it.


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 6:20 a.m.

@notaliberal What in the world is the "homosexual agenda," as you stated more than one time here? Please define your terms. As Dave B. said, the only one I'm aware of is wanting to be treated like every other human being. Do you really begrudge anyone that? If so, why?


Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 5:52 a.m.

Free speech in Ann Arbor is only allowed if it is the "right" speech. Law enforcement agencies and the prosecutor reviewed charges against Shirvell and dismissed them. What Shirvell did is not the norm and I do not understand it. Now it's about being a public figure and what he says on his own time. Where do you draw the line? If someone makes an inappropriate comment at the bar, do we call their employer to report them? People with that view want to punish Shirvell because his speech is not "right". What about Armstrong? By moving to disbar Shirvell is he now the stalker?

Bemused Passerby

Sat, Nov 6, 2010 : 5:52 a.m.

This will be a pretty pyrrhic victory for Shirvell. He'll likely keep his job (and probably should). But within his current employment future perceived conflicts of interest based on his public discussions will likely prevent him from engaging in his career to the fullest extent that might otherwise be possible. He's unlikely to be further promoted within his office, is unlikely to successfully navigate a position into elected office, and will most likely have substantial difficulty be vetted into a new job should he choose to leave. A government job is probably all that's left him - what private law firm would want to hire the baggage? It's an unfortunate and odd public derailment of a professional career.

mike from saline

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 11:52 p.m.

I guess Armstrong dosn't need any bodyguards after all. He's got the night shift at to look out for him. What a pathetic, whinny little bitch she is!

mike from saline

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 11:16 p.m.

This Armstrong guy is a real "profile in courage" isn't he? Does he have any usefulness other than as a martyr? Perhaps he should get himself a volunteer group of personel bodyguards from GLBT community. I'd go with the Lesbians myself.

jack anderson

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

I wonder if this man was the President of the United States and kept the same blog and followed the same man as he has--if he would be given the same free reign to practice his right to free speech while bastardizing the very principles of democracy that he has sworn to uphold in his job. Sounds to me like a lot of attorneys have scared the devil out of defending principles of decency and used the trump card of avoiding a lawsuit rather than standing for any moral code whatsoever.

David Cahill

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

Lawyers have duties to the public at large, such as the duty not to be convicted of serious criminal offenses. Many lawyers are disbarred for being criminals. So misconduct resulting in discipline need not arise in the context of professional representation.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

To all who read this and Mr. Briegel, Jesus upheld the Old Testament law in the New Testament by saying that if you do anything to your brother that is not out of love, you are missing the mark. God's love is the only good, right and moral love. The bible also does not teach "equality". Instead, it teaches obedience, sexual morality, love, honesty and helping your fellow man to be obedient to God. We don't fight with the devices that are of this world, we fight with the word of God and prayer. Therefore, I say to you, out of love: bow to the will of the Lord YOUR God, repent your sins and turn from your old ways. You will not be perfect but Jesus provided you salvation if only you would accept it. I pray that you accept it. God bless you.

David Briegel

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 5:28 p.m.

BasicBob, Like I said, we used to have standards. Imagine a gay man obsessed with a Christian. OOooohhh, now that would scare the daylights out of you and change your opinion! Still no addresses. If I prayed, I would pray for Mr Shirvell to get a life. I would pray that you get to practice your religion any way you see fit in your home and your place of worship. I would pray that GLBT get equal rights in my lifetime. I would pray that you accept that the only "gay agenda" is for equality. We used to know what that meant! Jesus would be proud of anyone who could live the new testament and not be stuck in the old!


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 5:25 p.m.

Oldgaffer, you might want to go back to MCL 423.9f and read it. It does not apply to this story in any way. The provision on residences is null due to free speech and assembly protections.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 5 p.m.

I should begin by stating the obvious: Ann Arbor is a pretty liberal city so I understand a lot of the sentiment from those who commented. I would also like to say that as a person who is not liberal and who lives in A2, it is hard to stay quiet. I'm a college student and I can frankly say that as a heterosexual individual the homosexual agenda has been stuffed down my throat since I was a child and I don't appreciate it. I agree with Shirvell in that instance, homosexuals are trying to push something on us that not everyone wants. It is our right not to want it. I also agree that Mr. Armstrong is now a public figure and he should man up and face the fact that people are not just going to lay down and be silent about your life when you are a public figure. The things that people said about our most recent president Bush when he was in office were pretty harsh too but you didn't see him trying to get people fired and disbared, he took it like a man. President Obama is also demonized and spoken about in a very negative light and I don't agree with that either but you don't see him crying about it. Even Clay Aiken said that everyone should be able to freely say and feel what they want to say and feel without consequence and also that he has learned to have thicker skin and not be so afraid of those who are different. That is what this entire issue is all about, right? Being afraid of those who are different or have a different point of view. I think that Mr. Shervell is an effective employee of the state of Michigan then I want him to continue in his current role. There are no other issues pending against him, just the issue of differing opinions. He is still an effective public figure and he hasn't offended me and those with whom I'm acquainted. All of us should realize that life isn't fair, ever. Its not fair that those of us who have strict religious convictions about sexual immorality have to choose between the lesser of evils when watching primetime television because every show has blatant sexual themes, but you don't see me suing anyone. Its not fair that Mr. Armstrong is able to keep trying to push the homosexual agenda upon those who do not want it, but I'm not trying to get him kicked out of school and alienated. Its also not fair that not everyone is going to like Mr. Armstrong because of his decisions in life, no one should hate him or try to harm him. We all need to accept these inequities because they are inevitable. They will NEVER be reconciled. Live with it. Mr. Shirvell doesn't deserve anything and neither does Mr. Armstrong. I don't deserve anything and neither do you. It's childish and unrealistic to believe otherwise. I pray that Mr. Shirvell is able to keep his present employment and I pray that we all begin to acknowledge God first in all of our decisions and attitudes. God bless you all.

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 4:52 p.m.

@GreenPus, Jeremy, etc., "... should be jailed for stalking" "... there are laws against that" The prosecutor declined to press charges. No law was broken, therefore no sentence can be imposed. Game over. So let's stick to whether his conduct was unprofessional. @Briegel, no one here is claiming this is acceptable behavior, but it is still legal. Just like the falling down drunk.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 4:42 p.m.

Green Pus and Jeremy: You can't be guilty of stalking if all you did was protest somebody when that person was at a public appearance. Further, the Prosecutor's Office in Washtenaw is pretty liberal. It would have filed charges if stalking took place. Further, Shirvell can't be disbarred because he didn't violate any professional responsibility he owed to Armstrong.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

It's against the law (Mich Compiled Laws 423.9f) to "picket a private residence by any means or methods whatever" and that's what Shirvell admits to doing. You'd think that an Assistant Attorney General would know better.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 4:26 p.m.

Stalking has a legal definition and the county prosecutor said Shirvell's behavior was not stalking. Do all of you who keep saying he was stalking not believe in the rule of law? Is he guilty because you say he is, even though the prosecutor doesn't even think there is enough evidence for probable cause.

David Briegel

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 4:01 p.m.

dayo, then why the "freedom fries"? Armstrong is a Student. A young person. Analogy; If Shirvell were to be a falling down drunk at a formal occasion and NOT drive home would he have violated any standard? That is what he has done in these matters. In the past there were standards of acceptable behavior. That is in the good ol' days before Mike Cox and Shirvell obliterated them! And I notice nobody has announced their name and address for similar behavior that you deem acceptable! Ha!


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 3:54 p.m.

I agree that this is not about the blog. It is about behavior. He has a right to free speech - which simply means the government won't put you in jail for what he has said. He has had the privileged of a pretty stupid attorney general protecting him. While he has stalked about bullied a college student. He does not have a *right* to a specific job, or specific employer. He signed an employment agreement of some sort with the state and has probably violated it. I will be interested in what the civil service commission decides. He doesn't not have a *right* to practice law either. Again, when he swore his oath to get his license and joined the bar. He promised appropriate behavior and he likely violated that too. That said, this state's bar is pretty lenient. I am glad the complaint has been so publicly made - it will remain on his record (at least on the internet) for other states to review should he decide he needs to pursue employment elsewhere. His professionalism and moral rectitude are certainly in question for other bar's to consider. What I want to know is this: how stupid do you have to be to do the Daily Show when you are Andrew Shrivel?


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 3:48 p.m.

I believe Mr. Armstrong would also be considered a public figure because of his status at U of M, and because of his public figure status isnt that the same public figure status as celebs when they go out at night or go home? They always have people filming them. I am not saying what Shirvell did was right. I think some of the things in his blog were reprehensible. Nowhere in my previous post have you seen me state that the things he said were honorable or in good taste. What I am saying is that there are no criminal charges pending against him, and since there arent, he didnt do anything illegal. Since he didnt do anything illegal, his job shouldnt be at risk. If he cant do his job objectively, then he should be fired. Not for this. Now Johnnya2, since when is this about child porn? Why would you go there? Since you brought the constitution up, where does it say in the constitution that you cant video tape someone at their home? I believe Chris Armstrong would be considered a public figure and exempt from some expectations of privacy that a non public figure might enjoy. And David Briegel, All Americans would rejoice in the Voltaire quote. Including Rush and Sarah, who use this mindset to speak the things they do.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 3:47 p.m.

@johnnya2: are you telling us that opposition to gay marriage is legally equivalent to pedophilia and should be prosecuted the same way? no wonder some people are concerned about the "gay agenda", you are no better than those who conflate homosexuality itself with pedophilia.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 3:23 p.m.

@dayo13 This case has nothing to do with the blog. It is about him stalking Mr Armstrong at his HOME. Show me the part of the constitution that says you have a right to video tape somebody at their home? All you strict constructionist will never find that clause. Based on that philosophy, if it is not there, it is up to the state. By the way, free speech does not extend to your job. it applies to being arrested or stopped from speaking it. Nobody stopped him from his speech. His EMPLOYER has the right to do whatever they wish to him. Let's put it in other terms. Pretend a member of the AG's office espouses child pornography. He says he likes to look at 6 year old girls having sex with adult men. Should he be allowed to keep his job? Now take it to the next level and he actually goes and observes one being made, or stands outside a 6 year old girls home and says I want to see you naked. Videotapes her life, AND starts talking to her friends and family.


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 3:21 p.m.

I must respectfully disagree, Dayo13. As a public servant you are never "off the clock" or "off the record". Everything you do is in the public eye by virtue of your position. Attacks on private citizens violate the public trust. An assistant attorney general should understand this better than anyone. It's not about rights, it's about proper conduct for the position you hold. I have the first amendment right to say what I want, but I don't have a constitutional right to remain employed afterward. Those who cannot exercise professional restraint and decorum while collecting a paycheck from the taxpayers should not be public employees.

David Briegel

Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 3:06 p.m.

OK, All you defenders of Shirvell. Name and Address please. We wish to film your comings and goings at all hours of the day and night. That is the Stalking behavior of which YOU approve! Still feel the same? By the way, I agree with the Voltaire quote. How dare you quote a Frenchman! Rush and Sarah would not approve!


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 3:05 p.m.

Yes we have free speech in this country, but it seems that everyone forgets that they are responsible for what they do with that free speech as well. Andrew Shrivel was stalking plain and simple and there are laws against that. Not to mention, whether or not he was doing this on his own time is besides the point. He was doing it period, that's the problem. He is more than allowed to have his personal views about things, but he took it all to a different level, a much different level. If this was someone else, perhaps higher up on the ladder, would people react the same way? You betcha! It would probably be even more than what we are seeing now! Plain and simple, he's a state employee and us citizens of the state expect a certain amount of professionalism in his job and in his own personal life. That's what you need to expect when you work for the state or hold office, your life is under a magnifying glass from then on, and when the citizens see something that is grossly horrible come to light, you better believe that we want to see something done about the horrible behavior that has been witnessed..


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 2:42 p.m.

Green Pus, I think you are way off base here. Shirvell was exercising his right to free speech. He wrote the blog on his own time, not the states' time. He wrote it as a free American, not as the Asst. A.G. I detest that he put a Nazi flag on the picture of Armstrong, but even that is protected by free speech. Shirvell doesnt have to agree with the gay community, doesnt need to support their views, and doesnt have to be politically correct on his own time while sharing his personal views. His job shouldnt even be in this discussion, because it wasnt during work hours, and Ive read nowhere that he does a poor job based on his views. 'I disagree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it' (Voltaire 1694-1778)


Fri, Nov 5, 2010 : 2:22 p.m.

Upon those bestowed the honor of state employment lies the expectation of professional detachment. Shirvell should not only be fired and disbarred, but also jailed for stalking.