Attorney Maitri “Mike” Klinkosum of Raleigh, son of Nithi and Elizabeth Klinkosum of Purlear, was named one of the top 100 lawyers in the state for 2015 by North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine.
Only 5 percent of attorneys in the state are named to the Super Lawyers list. Klinkosum has achieved this annually for criminal defense since 2012. The magazine named him a “rising star” in 2009.
Within the last decade, he represented clients in several high-profile cases.
In October 2007, Klinkosum and his co-counsel and wife, Kelley DeAngelus, obtained the release of Floyd Brown, a mentally retarded man from Wadesboro, charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery in 1993. Brown was declared incompetent to stand trial and was confined to a state mental hospital for 10 years before Klinkosum’s involvement in the case.
After Klinkosum and DeAngelus obtained Brown’s release in 2007, they were awarded the ACLU of North Carolina Award by the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and the Kellie Crabtree Award by N.C. Advocates for Justice.
In February 2010, Klinkosum, attorney Christine Mumma of the N.C. Center on Actual Innocence, and attorney Joe Cheshire won Gregory F. Taylor’s freedom.
Taylor was convicted of first-degree murder in Wake County and imprisoned for 16 years. Klinkosum and the defense team won a declaration of innocence from a three-judge panel convened via the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission. Taylor was the first person in the state exonerated and freed through the N.C. Innocence Inquiry Commission process.
For his work in the Taylor case, Klinkosum was again awarded the Kellie Crabtree Award. He is the only North Carolina attorney presented the award more than once.
The cases of Brown and Taylor were both featured in the “CNN Presents” documentary, “Rogue Justice,” in January 2011.
Taylor’s case was the subject of a TV documentary, “6,149 Days: The True Story of Greg Taylor,” which aired in April 2012.
Taylor’s case was the catalyst for an in-depth review of policies and procedures in the State Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory, resulting in several reforms and changes to the lab’s policies.
Klinkosum and fellow Wilkes County native, G. Bryan Collins Jr., now a Superior Court judge in Wake County, were attorneys for Jason Young in his two highly publicized trials.
Young was accused of murdering his pregnant wife in their home in 2006. Young now awaits a possible third trial after a mistrial and a guilty verdict, which was overturned by the N.C. Court of Appeals.
The N.C. Supreme Court is reviewing the case. In 2012, Young’s case was the subject of NBC’s “Dateline” program.
In addition to being named one of the top 100 lawyers in the state for 2015 by North Carolina Super Lawyers Magazine, Klinkosum was named one of the top 100 lawyers in criminal defense by the National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Trial Lawyers (NTL) in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
He was also named one of the top 100 criminal defense lawyers in North Carolina by the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA) in 2013, 2014, and 2015.
In 2012 and 2013, Klinkosum was named one of “North Carolina’s Legal Elite” in criminal defense by Business North Carolina magazine.
He received his undergraduate degree in political science and history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1992 and his law degree from the University of Miami in 1995. He also is a graduate of Wilkes Central High School.
Klinkosum has written several articles for professional publications related to criminal law and criminal defense. He wrote “Klinkosum on Criminal Defense Motions,” published by LexisNexis and now in its third edition.
He has given numerous presentations in North Carolina and other states on subjects related to criminal law and criminal defense.
As an adjunct professor of law at the UNC-CH School of Law, Klinkosum teaches “Criminal Procedure Litigation Skills,” a course he developed in collaboration with another professor.
Klinkosum specializes in criminal defense in both state and federal courts of North Carolina. His practice focuses on high-level felonies and white-collar criminal defense, as well as civil rights litigation.
Klinkosum recently was named a partner in the Charlotte-based law firm of Tin Fulton Walker & Owen and opened the firm’s Raleigh office.