Personal Freedom and Public Integrity


B32497 / Fri, 31 Jul 2009 22:33:08 / Human Rights

While we are free to inquire, speculate, formulate and discuss our opinions regarding this incident privately, it is critically important that we restrain ourselves publicly in the absence of the facts surrounding this incident.

Very little factual information has been publicly released and rightly so.

We are all, regardless of station, entitled to the fundamental right to due process as well as the right to face our accusers.

Two important facts we should all take pause to contemplate prior to making any commentary, public or private.

No person came to any physical harm. For that we are universally grateful.

Secondly, we share a common duty as responsible citizens to protect these aforementioned fundamental rights.

No one should be tried or pilloried in the press or other public forum.

Doing so not only tramples the rights of the Judge, but those of your own.

On second thought go on ahead rant, rave, slander and libel.

We, or at least I, obviously don’t have any rights.

terrible bad average good great


U.P. judge faces DUI charge

MARQUETTE – Alger and Schoolcraft counties Probate Judge Charles Nebel was arrested over the weekend for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

According to the Schoolcraft County Prosecutor’s office, Nebel was stopped at about 9 p.m. Friday in Schoolcraft County after being clocked speeding in excess of 100 mph through Luce County.

Troopers from the Newberry post of the Michigan State Police confirmed that they stopped Nebel in Schoolcraft County.

The prosecutor’s office said he was arrested after his blood alcohol level was allegedly found to be more than .08, the legal limit. Nebel was lodged in the Schoolcraft County Jail Friday night.

“I’m referring the Schoolcraft County portion of this whole matter to the attorney general’s office for an independent determination of any appropriate charges,” Schoolcraft County Prosecuting Attorney Peter Hollenbeck said.

Nebel did not return phone calls for comment this morning.

In March, Gov. Jennifer Granholm appointed Nebel as 5th District Probate Court judge for Alger and Schoolcraft counties.

Nebel, 47, has been a partner with the Nebel & Nebel law firm of Munising and is a founding member of the Alger-Schoolcraft Substance Abuse Treatment Court.

Nebel replaced Judge William Carmody, who was elected judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court.

~CHRISTOPHER DIEM Journal Staff Writer

GWHunta @ 08/24/09 04:51:07

GWHunta @ 08/24/09 05:14:06

GWHunta @ 08/24/09 06:09:06

GWHunta @ 08/27/09 06:26:50

GWHunta @ 08/27/09 06:27:57
GWHunta @ 08/27/09 09:58:28

“I’m very embarrassed and humiliated to stand here at this point,” said Nebel. “I don’t think much of that behavior. I want to promise you, and everyone else that I’ve mentioned and everyone I have failed in the process, that this behavior will never be repeated.”

GWHunta @ 09/16/09 00:04:29

MANISTIQUE — The Alger and Schoolcraft County probate judge charged with driving while intoxicated was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay over $1,200 in fines and costs.

Wednesday, Judge Charles Nebel was sentenced at his arraignment in Schoolcraft County Court.

Nebel pleaded guilty to driving while impaired which is a lesser charge. With the plea agreement, the driving while intoxicated charge was dropped.

He appeared in front of Judge Thomas Phillips, called in from Traverse City.

Nebel was arrested in July when troopers stopped him for driving in excess of 100 miles an hour.

GWHunta @ 09/16/09 00:06:38

Nebel was also sentenced to two days in jail, but was credited for two days already served.

GWHunta @ 09/16/09 00:32:00

Anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Bride.

1st of two weddings/receptions for the Judge to attend on 08/22/09.

He’s pictured on the left, preparing to officiate this one.

GWHunta @ 09/19/09 12:26:10

Much later that evening, after their return from Marquette, Judge Nebel and his lovely wife Denise. To his credit, just cake and coke for the Judge. Post arrest, but well prior to arraignment and sentencing.


GWHunta @ 09/19/09 12:59:10

dude, in the grand scheme of things this shit’s small taters

SunTzu @ 09/19/09 13:41:39

You’re just not feeling me, SunTzu.

Never forget the wisdom of “Tip” O’Neal, who once remarked, “All politics is local.”

Sometimes no Peace

GWHunta @ 09/24/09 11:27:41

7 Responses to Personal Freedom and Public Integrity

  1. gwhunta says:

    2010 Mich. LEXIS 82,*;485 Mich. 1049;
    777 N.W.2d 132

    In re: HON. CHARLES C. NEBEL, Probate Judge, Alger County & Schoolcraft County

    SC: 140203


    485 Mich. 1049; 777 N.W.2d 132; 2010 Mich. LEXIS 82

    January 27, 2010, Decided


    RFI No. 2009-18331.

    JUDGES: Marilyn Kelly, Chief Justice. Michael F. Cavanagh, Elizabeth A. Weaver, Maura D. Corrigan, Robert P. Young, Jr., Stephen J. Markman, Diane M. Hathaway, Justices.



    On order of the Court, the Judicial Tenure Commission has issued a Decision and Recommendation for Discipline, and the Honorable Charles C. Nebel has consented to the Commission’s findings of fact, conclusions of law, and recommendation of a public censure and a 90-day suspension without pay.

    As we conduct our de novo review of this matter, we are mindful of the standards set forth in In re Brown, 461 Mich 1291, 1292-1293; 625 N.W.2d 744 (2000):

    [E]verything else being equal:

    (1) misconduct that is part of a pattern or practice is more serious than an isolated instance of misconduct;

    (2) misconduct on the bench is usually more serious than the same misconduct off the bench;

    (3) misconduct that is prejudicial to the actual administration of justice is more serious than misconduct that is prejudicial only to the appearance of propriety;

    (4) misconduct that does not implicate the actual administration of justice, or its appearance of impropriety, is less serious than misconduct that does;

    (5) misconduct that occurs spontaneously [*2] is less serious than misconduct that is premeditated or deliberated;

    (6) misconduct that undermines the ability of the justice system to discover the truth of what occurred in a legal controversy, or to reach the most just result in such a case, is more serious than misconduct that merely delays such discovery;

    (7) misconduct that involves the unequal application of justice on the basis of such considerations as race, color, ethnic background, gender, or religion are more serious than breaches of justice that do not disparage the integrity of the system on the basis of a class of citizenship.

    In this case those standards are being applied to the following findings of fact of the Judicial Tenure Commission, which had adopted the admissions contained in the settlement agreement, and which we adopt as our own:

    On July 24, 2009, Respondent consumed at least four sixteen-ounce glasses of beer at the Mackinac Grill in St. Ignace, Michigan, between approximately 4:45 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Respondent then left the Mackinac Grill to travel to his home in Munising, Michigan. Respondent traveled northbound on I-75, continued on M-123, and then went west on M-28. While driving on M-28, Respondent’s speed [*3] registered on a Mackinac County Deputy’s radar device at 105 miles per hour. Several witnesses also reported that Respondent had passed them on M-28 traveling at speeds around or in excess of 100 miles per hour. A Michigan State Police unit effectuated a traffic stop of Respondent’s vehicle near the Schoolcraft County/Alger County line at or around 9:05 p.m.

    During the traffic stop Respondent acted in a confused and disoriented manner. An odor of intoxicants emanated from his body and his eyes were bloodshot and glassy. Respondent admitted to having consumed “four — maybe five — Oberon draft beers.” The Michigan State Police detained Respondent and took him to the Schoolcraft County Jail. While in jail, Respondent took two breath tests which revealed that his bodily alcohol content was 0.09 per 210 liters of breath.

    Under MCL 257.625(1)(b), it is illegal for a person with a 0.09 blood-alcohol content to operate a motor vehicle on a highway open to the general public. Respond[ent] was charged with a violation of MCL 257.625(1)(b) in the 93rd District Court. On September 9, 2009, Respondent pled guilty to a lesser charge of operating a motor vehicle while impaired, in contravention of [*4] MCL 257.625(3).

    The standards set forth in Brown are also being applied to the following conclusions of the Judicial Tenure Commission, which we adopt as our own:

    The facts established by the parties’ stipulation in this matter show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Respondent breached the standards of judicial conduct in the following ways:

    (a) Failure to establish, maintain, enforce and personally observe high standards of conduct so that the integrity and independence of the judiciary may be preserved, in violation of Canon 1 of the Michigan Code of Judicial Conduct (“MCJC”);

    (b) Irresponsible or improper conduct which erodes public confidence in the judiciary, in violation of MJCJ, Canon 2(A);

    (c) Conduct involving the appearance of impropriety, in violation of MJCJ, Canon 2(A);

    (d) Failure to conduct oneself at all times in a manner which would enhance the public’s confidence in the integrity of the judiciary, contrary to MJCJ, Canon 2(B); and

    (e) Conduct which exposes the legal profession or the courts to obloquy, contempt, censure, or reproach in violation of MCR 9.104(A)(2).

    Respondent has pleaded guilty to the commission of a misdemeanor designed to promote public safety. The commission [*5] of a crime by a judge erodes public confidence in the judiciary, which is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

    After review of the recommendation of the Judicial Tenure Commission, the settlement agreement, the standards set forth in Brown, and the above findings and conclusions, we ORDER that the Honorable Charles C. Nebel be publicly censured and suspended without pay for 90 days, effective 21 days from the date of this order. This order stands as our public censure.

  2. gwhunta says:

    On August 10th, 2009, a hearing was held in Luce County to determine the matter of jurisdiction and where Judge Nebel would be arraigned. Although I didn’t personally witness the proceedings, due to a late arrival for what I assumed to have been a public hearing already in progress, I had gone to the Luce County Court House expecting to find the local media present due to the extensive news coverage and public outcry following Judge Nebel’s arrest. The media was surprisingly absent.

    My wife and I went into the Courthouse and inquired as to whether or not the hearing was in fact being held and we were informed that it was, though as previously stated, it was already in progress.

    We decided not to enter the Courtroom in the midst of the proceeding and left the building. As we were driving away, I was somewhat surprised to find Judge Nebel waiting outside, reading a book in a vehicle parked on the street adjacent to the Luce County complex. I decided to park my van and ask him myself what was going on.

  3. gwhunta says:

    Later that day, June 12th, 2010, while Sylvia and I were gone to the Marquette area to visit Peter at MBP …….

    Sorry Charlie

  4. gwhunta says:

    Earlier today while vancamping at Rock…….

    Judge Nebel – Anatomy of a Cover-UP‏
    From: Wade Roberts (
    Sent: Tue 6/15/10 2:29 PM

    Joe Swickard,

    Appreciate the coverage on the Nebel case.

    How about some of the untold part(s) of this story.

    Read once again the Supreme Court order regarding Nebel’s 90 day suspension.


    Judge Nebel and counsel stipulated that he left the Mackinaw Grille in St. Ignace at about 7:00 pm, drove northbound I-75 to northbound M-123 to westbound M-28 and was stopped near the Alger/Schoolcraft county line at 9:05 pm.

    That’s two hours and five minutes drive time for a distance of approximately 108 miles.

    Google map the same trip and the drive time is one hour fifty-five minutes at legal speed.

    The Judge was clocked travelling at 105 mph by the Mackinaw County Sherriff’s department on M-28.

    That’s now public record.

    As told to me by Judge Nebel, the Mackinaw County Officer was in the process of making a right turn at the intersection of M-117 and M-28 on his way to Newberry when the Judge went by and subsequently alerted the Michigan State Police.

    This information wasn’t then or to my knowledge hasn’t since been publicly released.

    Judge Nebel told this to me personally as he was awaiting the outcome of the jurisdictional hearing held on August 10th, 2009 in Luce County.

    Once he told me this, the Judge then backtracked and said he of course hadn’t seen the Mackinaw County vehicle and didn’t even know if it was marked or unmarked. My impression at that point in our conversation was that the Judge was lying.

    No prosecutor had been assigned the case yet and the police reports at that point in the case should have been totally confidential regarding release to the concerned parties until the jurisdictional matter had been resolved, a prosecutor assigned to the case and the prosecution had the opportunity to review the police reports and bring appropriate charges.

    Police reports are normally withheld from defendants prior to arraignment.

    The 08/10/09 hearing in Luce County resulted in a decision that this case would be heard in Schoolcraft County where the arrest had taken place and the Judge was lodged overnight.

    There was no press present at this jurisdictional hearing that I know of which I thought strange for a locally high profile case such as this one had become.

    Judge Nebel had also told me outside the Luce County Complex that day that both counties potentially had jurisdiction and that the outcome of this hearing made no difference to him personally. The Judge did later concede though that there were obvious problems with holding the proceedings in Schoolcraft County where he was a sitting Judge.

    Schoolcraft County Prosecutor Peter Hollenbeck had already publicly turned over the Schoolcraft County portion of the case to the Attorney General’s Office, reported on the 28th of July.

    Seems to me the simplest way to handle this matter would have been to simply proceed in Luce County.

    That wasn’t the result though, as the ball was already rolling in assigning a “special Prosecutor” and bringing in an “impartial Judge” to hear the case.

    Judge Nebel of course claims there was no “fleeing and eluding” involved in this case. Had there been, he would have surely been forced from the bench and likely disbarred.

    Instead he is today busy campaigning to keep his $139,919 salary and seat on the bench in his initial and upcoming August 3rd election against his “competitor”, a Schoolcraft County native from the AG’s office.

    My questions regarding the anomolies in the case are simple.


    Why did the Judge choose the route he took home if he didn’t feel he was impaired when he left the Mackinaw Grille and was in a hurry to get home?

    The route he took is about 5 miles longer that driving US-2 to either M-117 or M-77 to M-28.

    You are of course generally less likely to encounter law enforcement on M-123 than on US-2, due to Operation SABRE.


    According to the Judge himself, he was driving at an excessive rate of speed from at least the intersection of M-28 and M-117 to where he was stopped, just short of the Alger/Schoolcraft County line.

    If the facts stipulated to regarding the time the Judge left the Mackinaw Grille and was subsequently stopped and arrested are indeed factual, how does one explain the 2:05 drive time, when you can cover the same route in 1:55 without speeding?


    Lastly, if the Judge had truly not seen the Mackinaw County Sherriff vehicle and increased his speed in response to avoid being stopped, how did he know that is where he had been first observed by law enforcement on the 10th of August, 2009, prior to the jurisdictional matter even being settled or a prosecutor assigned the case?

    I’d appreciate a response and be glad to answer any questions you might have regarding my interest in this case.

    Wade Roberts
    citizen of Alger County

  5. gwhunta says:

    Now I’m sorry.

    I said Google map, when it was actually bing.


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