Notre Dame Law School Alumna Joins Exoneration Justice Clinic as Legal Fellow

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame Law School’s Exoneration Justice Clinic has announced the hiring of Mary-Kathryn (“Katie”) Takeuchi as a legal fellow. Takeuchi, an alumna of the law school, will be instrumental in the clinic’s selection process for new cases, overseeing the work of students, and providing assistance on active cases.

Takeuchi returns to Notre Dame after a successful stint as an associate attorney at Heise Suarez Melville, PA, in Coral Gables, Florida. Notably, she represented a client in a wrongful-death jury trial involving police misconduct, which resulted in a $3 million verdict against Miami-Dade County. She also gained valuable experience by working as a law clerk for Judge Charles R. Wilson of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Judge Federico A. Moreno of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

During her time at Notre Dame Law School, Takeuchi received recognition for her excellence in Criminal Law and Legal Research and Writing. She also held leadership roles as the executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review and a member of the Notre Dame Moot Court Board. In addition, she served as a research and teaching assistant for Professor Jimmy Gurulé, the faculty director of the Exoneration Justice Clinic. Takeuchi’s prestigious internships included serving as an intern for the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Takeuchi expressed her enthusiasm about returning to Notre Dame and the Exoneration Justice Clinic, stating, “It is a privilege to return to Notre Dame Law School and especially the EJC. I’m eager to embrace the challenge of reintroducing accountability and justice into our legal system through our cases, ensuring that these values become intrinsic once again. I look forward to working with Professor Gurulé and a team made up of impressive lawyers, staff, and students.”

Professor Gurulé spoke highly of Takeuchi, emphasizing her exceptional qualities as a lawyer and her passion for justice. He believes that her expertise will expedite the evaluation of claims of innocence and provide essential legal support for overturning wrongful convictions. Gurulé warmly welcomed Takeuchi back to Notre Dame Law School as the newest member of the Exoneration Justice Clinic.

The Exoneration Justice Clinic, established in 2020, is dedicated to rectifying miscarriages of justice through extensive investigation, litigation, and overturning wrongful convictions. Notably, the clinic achieved its first exoneration in July 2021 when Andrew Royer, a client wrongfully convicted of a 2002 murder in Elkhart, Indiana, had his conviction vacated and criminal charges dismissed. Currently, the clinic is actively involved in several other cases and has filed petitions for post-conviction relief in five pending cases.

Over the past three years, the EJC has received significant support from the Department of Justice, which has provided two grants. These grants have facilitated staff expansion, enhanced the capacity to overturn wrongful convictions, influenced criminal justice reform in Indiana, and provided students with enriched opportunities to work on clinic cases. Additionally, the clinic received a $3 million grant from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2023. The grant will fund the Program for the Defense of Mexican Nationals in Criminal Matters in the United States, a three-year pilot project aimed at providing legal representation to Mexican nationals in wrongful conviction cases nationwide.

For more information about the Exoneration Justice Clinic, please visit their website.