Nellis and Krieger offer different types of experience to probate judgeship

July 24, 2012

Nellis, left, and Krieger

Story and Photos by Rob Alway, Editor

SCOTTVILLE – About 150 people attended Monday’s Candidates’ Forum at the Scottville Clown Band Shell. The event was sponsored by and WMOM FM 102.7. Participants included several of the county commissioner district races, county treasurer, county surveyor, clerk, prosecutor, register of deeds, probate judge and sheriff.

During the event, audience members were able to submit written questions to a panel consisting of filmmaker/journalist Lisa Enos and economist Jamie Healy. Enos and Healy checked over the questions to determine they weren’t redundant and that they were legible and fair. Moderator Mike Tanis, WMOM news director, then asked the questions based on the amount of time allotted per race, 10 minutes for all races except sheriff, 20 minutes.

Probate Judge: Nick Krieger and Jeff Nellis

The race for Mason County Probate Judge will be decided during the November election. Both candidates have been campaigning throughout the summer, showing up at various community events.

Nick Krieger grew up in Ludington and graduated from Ludington High School in 1995. After high school he attended Michigan State University for his undergraduate work and then Wayne State University for his law degree.

Jeff Nellis grew up in Owosso and received his bachelor’s degree from University of Michigan and his law degree from Wayne State. He and his wife, Debbie, moved to Ludington in 1993.

Krieger is an appellant lawyer, working for Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Kathleen Jansen in Detroit. Nellis owns his own practice in Ludington where he works in many areas of the law.

Following the format and rules of the forum, moderator Mike Tanis asked questions submitted by the audience. Time allowed for 10 minutes of questions and answers.

The candidates were asked about their experience with Mason County’s probate court.

“I’m not a trial lawyer,” Krieger said. “I’m an appellant lawyer. I have written several decisions from appeals from Judge Raven’s (current probate judge) and Judge Cooper’s (current circuit court judge) courts. I correct errors made by the trial lawyers.”

Nellis responded that as a lawyer practicing in Mason County he has practiced many cases in Mason County probate court.

When asked about their philosophies toward punishing juvenile offenders, Nellis and Krieger had similar responses.

“They need to be dealt with, in my opinion,” Krieger said. “In my opinion, the probate court does need to be strict with juvenile offenders. I believe in rehabilitation but there is a point at which children need to be told what to do. I grew up as a kid in Mason County and I know the pressures.”

“We also need to look at the family situation,” Nellis said, “and try to figure out what we can do by way of implementing services. But there’s certainly more of an emphasis on rehabilitation.”

Krieger was asked if he planned on staying in Mason County if he lost the election.

“When I lost my election for state representative people said that I needed to go away and get some experience. I went to Grand Rapids and then to Detroit. I still work for the court of appeals. My job will be there if I come back. I’m not sure what I’ll do. I need to make a living. I just don’t know where. Mason County is where I want to raise a family.”



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