Prosecutors

CHARLEVOIX COUNTY PROSECUTORS
Allen Telgenhof, Prosecuting Attorney
Kerry Zahner, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Caitlin Borchard, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Susan Houseknecht, Law Clerk





Allen Telgenhof, Prosecuting Attorney
telgenhof1
telgenhofa@charlevoixcounty.org

Allen was elected prosecuting attorney in November of 2012 and took office on January 1, 2013. He handles the majority of the felony prosecutions in Charlevoix County, successfully trying cases involving homicide, criminal sexual conduct, major assaultive crimes, arson, felony drug delivery and possession and malicious destruction of property.  

During his first four-year term as prosecuting attorney, in addition to the administration of the office and his caseload, Allen has led the fight against domestic violence and sexual assault in northern Michigan. Allen worked with all of the police agencies in the county to create and adopt a uniform set of policies incorporating the best practices for the investigation and prosecution of domestic violence cases. Allen coordinated and arrange for training on those policies for all law enforcement agencies. He created a Charlevoix County Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Task Force where members of the PA Office partner with law enforcement, the courts, probation departments, the Women's Resource Center of Northern Michigan and other social service agencies partner to address DV/SA issues in our communities. 

Allen hired a specialized Domestic Violence Assistant Prosecuting Attorney to focus on these cases due to the special dynamics presented.  Most recently, Allen and Libby Mikulski were instrumental in bringing the films The Hunting Ground and Sands of Silence: Waves of Courage to Charlevoix County, bringing awareness regarding sexual assault and human trafficking.

Another on-going initiative is teen education. Allen presented to high school students across the county on issues related to teen sex, including consent, sexting and distribution of pictures. The meetings, held at county high schools, were very well received as students learned about Michigan law in these areas and had the opportunity to ask difficult questions. Additionally, Allen has developed a diversion program where teen sexual activity which is factually, but not legally consensual (at least one of the participants is under the age of 16) is treated with evaluation, counseling and education rather than prosecution and punishment. The activity is not ignored but is utilized as an opportunity to inform rather than to punish.

Prior to his election, Allen spent 23 years in private practice, focusing on litigation, both civil and criminall.

Allen received his bachelor's degree in business administration from Michigan State University in 1987. He graduated with honors from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1989, where he was recognized on the Dean's List seven times, received two American Jurisprudence Awards and was an associate on the law review.

He served on the Charlevoix Board of Education for eight years, six as president, on the Charlevoix Schools Foundation, on the City of Charlevoix Planning Commission and the Charlevoix Schools District Steering Committee.

Allen is currently the varsity baseball coach at Boyne Falls Public Schools; he has coached baseball for over 20 years, including 12 as Charlevoix High School varsity baseball coach. Allen was named Charlevoix County News Coach of the Year in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and the District Coach of the Year by the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches' Association in 2013. 

He also has served as an adjunct professor at North Central Michigan College, and as a trained mediator and arbitrator, mediating local disputes with Northern Community Mediation and hearing and deciding cases for the New York Stock Exchange and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Before moving to Charlevoix in 1994, Allen was very involved in his hometown community of Clio, serving three years on the school board and serving as president and co-founder of the Clio Area Educational Foundation (now known as the Clio Area Education Fund). He was recognized in 1999 as the Clio Area High School Alumnus of the Year.



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Kerry Zahner, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
Kerry

zahnerk@charlevoixcounty.org

Kerry was appointed Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in September 2018. She rejoined the prosecuting attorney's office in April 2017, having worked there previously as an assistant prosecuting attorney from 1999 to 2004. She also prosecuted domestic violence cases in Charlevoix County (as well as other counties) as a Special Assistant Attorney General and Special Prosecuting Attorney from 2008 to 2013. She also served as attorney magistrate for the 90th District Court.

A graduate of The Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio and Michigan State University (with honors), Kerry also is a graduate of Charlevoix High School.

Kerry prosecutes a variety of matters in the prosecuting attorney's office, but her particular area of expertise is in the prosecution of intimate partner violence cases, going back to her time as a Special Assistant Attorney General and Special Prosecuting Attorney.

In her spare time, Kerry enjoys spending time with her family, watching her children's activities, being outdoors and camping.


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Caitlin Borchard, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney
caitlin
borchardc@charlevoixcounty.org

Caitlin has been in the Prosecuting Attorney's Office in May 2017 and specializes in the prosecution of both felony and misdemeanor drug offenses.

Prior to joining the office, Caitlin served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Saginaw County since 2012.

Caitlin graduated from Alma College with a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Communication and from the Michigan State University College of Law where she participated in the Trial Practice Institute.

While in law school, Caitlin served as an extern for Justice Maura D. Corrigan of the Michigan Supreme Court and the Saginaw County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.


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Susan Houseknecht, Law Clerk

houseknechts@charlevoixcounty.org

Susan joined the Prosecuting Attorney's Office in September 2018. She graduated from the Michigan State University College of Law and from Canisius College magna cum laude.

While at Michigan State, Susan worked as a clinician and intake coordinator at the Chance at Childhood Clinic, as an extern with the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence and as a law clerk for Judge Rosemarie Aquilina in the 30th Circuit Court in Ingham County.

Susan currently practices on behalf of the office in all three courts - circuit, probate/family and district - pursuant to MCR 8.120 as a recent law school graduate.


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