Federal prosecutor chosen as executive director of JTC


Lynn Helland

Assistant United States Attorney Lynn Helland has been selected to serve as Executive Director of the Michigan Judicial Tenure Commission. 

“The Commission is enormously fortunate to have a veteran prosecutor with Lynn Helland’s extensive experience assume this leadership role, and we look forward to his fair and objective guidance,” said the Commission’s chair, state Court of Appeals Judge David Sawyer.

According to Sawyer, Helland has significant experience with Michigan legal ethics as a professional responsibility officer, discipline hearing panelist, and ethics instructor. He has been responsible for helping colleagues comply with the Michigan Rules of Professional Conduct, Sawyer indicated.

Helland’s 34 years as a federal prosecutor have been devoted to complex crimes involving public corruption, health care fraud, national security, and civil rights. He has investigated complex economic, environmental, and non-drug money laundering crimes. In addition, he has worked internationally within the legal systems of the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong (before and after the 1997 transition), Switzerland, France, Ireland, England, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Japan, and Canada to obtain documents and/or testimony for prosecution of complex economic crimes.

In the spring of 2009, Helland was honored with the prestigious Leonard R. Gilman Award, presented annually to “an outstanding practitioner of criminal law who exemplifies the excellence, professionalism, and commitment to public service” of the award’s namesake. The award was created in 1985 by the Federal Bar Association for the Eastern District of Michigan in honor of Gilman, who died that year following a distinguished career as U.S. Attorney in Detroit. Helland joined a list of award winners that includes such notable attorneys as David DuMouchel, Paul Borman, Neil Fink, Alan Gershel, Tom Cranmer, and former Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Maura Corrigan.

A Plymouth resident, Helland also served as senior legal adviser for the United States Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. During his stay in the war-torn country, Helland promoted the rule of law by mentoring Afghan narcotics investigators, prosecutors, and judges in international standards, with emphasis on systemic improvements, group training in critical case analysis and investigative methods, and analysis of individual cases to identify appropriate investigative steps and review for prosecutive merit. Additionally, Helland advised the government of Latvia concerning laws against official corruption, in order to facilitate entry into the European Union.

Helland is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School, magna cum laude. He served as a law clerk to Judge Cornelia Kennedy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit before beginning his career with the U.S. Department of Justice.

His community involvement includes serving as a board member for Save the Afghan Children, a charity that supports a girls’ orphanage and school in Kabul. He also was a board member for Veahavta, a charity that helps supply funding for a girls’ orphanage in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. In addition, Helland served as a board member and president of the Parents’ Association, Oak Trails Montessori School.

Over the past decade, Helland and his wife, Dr. Cheryl Huckins, have participated in numerous humanitarian trips to Sri Lanka and Haiti, assisting with relief efforts following the devastating tsunami that rocked Southeast Asia in December 2004 and the catastrophic 2010 earthquake that ravaged the tiny Caribbean country.

He and his wife have two sons, Kyle and Kelsey, and one daughter, Erica. Kyle holds an engineering management position with Lockheed Martin, the giant aerospace and defense company. His brother Kelsey, a graduate of Stanford Law School, is an attorney with Gibson Dunn in San Francisco. Erica, a former English teacher, now is an administrator for Concordia University in Ann Arbor. The couple also has five grandchildren.

An avid golfer and bicyclist, Helland also enjoys reading, traveling, and attending U-M sporting events and Detroit Symphony Orchestra concerts.

Helland will take the reins at the JTC on February 6.


  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »