Attorney’s edgy shirts spark uproar: ‘You say domestic violence, I say spousal discipline’

Posted at 11:13 AM, May 13, 2015

FLINT, Mich. – A slogan an attorney has printed on T-shirts is causing an uproar.

In big, bold letters, it reads: “You say domestic violence, I say spousal discipline.”

The person who had the shirts made is a well-known defense attorney in Flint, Michigan.

The shirts were printed six years ago and recently re-surfaced on social media.

Tuesday, Genesee County Sheriff Robert Pickell said he will be filing a complaint with the Michigan Bar Association against the attorney who had them printed.

“It is the marketing of violence, plain and simple,” Pickell said.

The well-known Flint area attorney who had the shirt printed is Jay Clothier.

Pickell is drumming up support on this issue from a Mid-Michigan women’s advocacy group.

“We see this as its not only an off-color bit of humor but we see it as an attack on women and the pain that has been inflicted on them,” YWCA Director Heidi McAra said.

In the past, Clothier has circulated other edgy T-shirts to spur conversation and, of course, advertise his law practice.

For example, one said: “Take the fifth and we’ll bring the tonic.”

Another printed after a courtroom brawl in Flint said: “I went to court with Clothier and it was a riot.”

Pickell had a suggestion for Clothier to redeem his public image.

“He has a chance to come down to the YWCA and donate his time, donate his money,” Pickell said.

Tuesday afternoon, Clothier released this statement:

“I am very upset and I did retain an attorney to explore what legal options I can take against Sheriff Pickell and Genesee County.”

“I think most women would say that anyone who would wear a shirt like this is in the wrong and not someone who is supportive of the pain they’ve been through,” McAra said.

Attorney Jay Clothier responded to the Sheriff on his personal Facebook page posting.

“To my friends, a domestic violence client made the comment to me almost 7-10 years ago. It was a perverse offensive comment made to me, which offended me. It was shocking n dialogue inspiring, and also kinda hit on many cases I have, where there’s no evidentiary proof n was basically a He Said She Said. I had my printer create it to be shocking dialogue inspiring. I considered making it, but figured it was offensive n over the top. These were a mock draft that I thought was offensive to actual real victims. This press conference about a photo of a shirt made 7-10 years ago was a vindictive attempt to character assasinate [sic] me for doing my job. People should be outraged at the Sheriff for his vindictive political agenda. How about managing your own department matters rather than attacking a lawyer?”

By Brianna Owczarzak and Jessica Dupanack for CNN