Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crist picks Jack Helinger for circuit judgeship

ST. PETERSBURG — Longtime Pinellas lawyer John "Jack" Helinger got a long-awaited phone call Friday from Gov. Charlie Crist: "He said 'Jack, I'm calling to make you a circuit judge.' "

Helinger said "those were some obviously very, very special words that will be ingrained in my mind forever."

It was especially welcome news because Helinger had been a finalist for judicial positions six other times. He said he felt "humbled and honored to accept the incredible responsibility bestowed upon a circuit judge."

That's a responsibility he knows something about, because his wife, Chris, already is a circuit judge.

He said having a two-judge family will "allow us both to better appreciate the demands, the pressures and the importance of the position. I think it will be a great help rather than any hindrance."

Helinger said that after Crist gave him the news, the two talked about the importance of being public servants. Helinger said he has known Crist since the governor was an intern in the State Attorney's Office years ago.

Crist selected Helinger over St. Petersburg lawyer Thomas Minkoff, former general counsel of the Pinellas Republican Party, who has done pro-bono work for Gulf Coast Legal Services in recent years.

Helinger, 57, is a graduate of Georgia Tech and Stetson School of Law.

He is a former prosecutor and experienced litigator. He said in his application that he had tried more than 175 jury trials, 60 nonjury trials, and 75 cases before administrative bodies in his career.

Several judges and prominent attorneys endorsed Helinger.

Robert J. Morris Jr., chief judge of the circuit, wrote that Helinger "could be the single most experienced litigator (both civil and criminal) in Pinellas County."

Crist picks Jack Helinger for circuit judgeship 12/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 11:43am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Restaurant review: Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights should focus on mom-and-pop pharmacy vibe

    Food & Dining

    By Laura Reiley

    Times Food Critic


    Sometimes, the more time you have with a project, the more complicated it gets. I started hearing about Mortar & Pestle in Seminole Heights about 18 months ago. It was the vision of Ujwal Patel, a pharmacist;

    Mortar & Pestle opened in Seminole Heights in Tampa in August. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]
  2. Snap Judgment's Glynn Washington on growing up in a 'cult' and how to tell a good story


    Glynn Washington spent much of his last visit to Tampa preparing his soul for the impending apocalypse. He was assured it was coming any day.

    Glynn Washington, the creator and host of NPR's "Snap Judgment," will bring his live show to the Tampa Theatre on Sept. 29. 
Photo courtesy Snap Judgment
  3. Anthony Weiner sentenced to 21 months in sexting case


    NEW YORK — Former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison for sexting with a 15-year-old girl in a case that rocked Hillary Clinton's campaign for the White House in the closing days of the race and may have cost her the presidency.

    Former Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) arrives at federal court for his sentencing hearing in a sexting scandal, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Kiran and Pallavi Patel commit $200 million for Clearwater medical school

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Tampa Bay philanthropists Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife, Dr. Pallavi Patel are spending $200 million to create and promote a Tampa Bay regional campus for the private Nova Southeastern University.

    Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  5. Lightning to retire Vinny Lecavalier's No. 4 in February


    When Marty St. Louis became the first Lightning player to have his jersey retired back in January, it was hard not to think that former captain Vinny Lecavalier would be the next one.

    Vinny Lecavalier takes the ice before a 2010 game against the Florida Panthers.