Marie Ndiaye joined the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice as the Senior Policy Manager in December 2017, to focus on criminal justice and drug policy reform. Prior to joining Katal, Marie spent five years as a Staff Attorney at the Legal Aid Society’s Criminal Defense Practice. As a Public Defender, she represented over 2000 indigent New Yorkers charged with misdemeanors and felonies in Manhattan’s Criminal Court. She experienced firsthand the injustices that drive mass incarceration, often beginning with an individual's first interaction with law enforcement, and continuing through the judicial process where cash bail, lack of discovery, speedy-trial loopholes, and coercive plea bargaining ultimately lead to the wrongful convictions of many criminal defendants, whether by plea or after trial. Interacting with these many drivers of mass incarceration through her individual clients’ cases has pushed her to join Katal's fight for systemic change. Armed with the important perspective of her former clients, she hopes to bring their experiences to the forefront of criminal justice reform efforts.
A proud New Yorker, Marie is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Hunter College. She received her Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School in 2012, where she participated in several student clinics and graduated with the distinction of having performed over 1000 hours of pro bono services. She was also an active member of the Black Law Student’s Association and the Harvard African Law Students Association, holding several committee chair positions in the both organizations. At Legal Aid, Marie was also active in her union where she served as a delegate, attended conferences, and lobbied on socio-economic issues in Albany.