Keith A. Findley
Professor of Law
B.A. 1981, Indiana University
J.D. 1985, Yale Law School
For all but six years since 1985--during which he served as a state public defender--Keith Findley has been a faculty member at the University of Wisconsin Law School. For 20 of those years, he taught in the Law School's clinics. In 2012, he moved to the tenure track, where he teaches Evidence, Wrongful Convictions, Criminal Procedure, and Law & Forensic Science. In 1998, along with Professor John Pray, he co-founded the Wisconsin Innocence Project, and he served as co-director of the project until the spring of 2017, when he assumed the role of Senior Advisor. For five years, from 2009 to November 2014, he served as president of the Innocence Network, an affiliation of nearly 70 innocence organizations throughout the world. In 2018, he joined with Jerry Buting and Dean Strang (made famous as Steven Avery's attorneys in the Netflix documentary series Making a Murderer) to create a non-profit, the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences, dedicated to improving the reliability and safety of criminal prosecutions through strengthening forensic sciences.
Recently, Prof. Findley has become deeply involved in policing issues. He served as co-chair of the Madison Police Department Policy & Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee, which after four years of study issued a report in 2019 with 177 recommendations for reforms, including recommendations for creating a mechanism for civilian oversight of policing. From 2016-2018, he served as a Commissioner on the Madison Police and Fire Commission. In 2020, he served as co-chair of the Madison Police Body-Worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee. And in 2020 he was appointed to serve on the Madison Police Civilian Oversight Board.
Prof. Findley is the author of more than 50 law review articles and book chapters. His primary areas of scholarship and expertise are in wrongful convictions, criminal law and procedure, law and forensic science, and appellate advocacy. He has previously worked as an Assistant State Public Defender in Wisconsin, both in the Appellate and Trial Divisions. He has litigated hundreds of postconviction and appellate cases, at all levels of state and federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court. He also lectures and teaches internationally on wrongful convictions, forensic science, evidence, and appellate advocacy.
Scholarship & Publications
- Wrongful Convictions
- Eyewitness Identification Procedures
- Interrogations & False Confessions
- Forensic Sciences
- Legal/Clinical Education
Keith Findley presented "Plea Bargaining in the Shadow of a Retrial: Bargaining Away Innocence" during the California Western School of Law's Sixth Annual Ethics Conference: Legal Ethics and the Public Interest on May 6, 2022.
Keith Findley presented "Forensic Science and Daubert: Considering the Gatekeeping Role of the Judge" during a training presented to Michigan judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys hosted by the Michigan Judicial Institute on Feb. 16, 2022.
Keith Findley presented "Concentric Circles of Harm: Who is Hurt When the System Fails" and "Anatomy of Science-Dependent Prosecutions" during the Forensic Justice Institute, hosted by the State Bar of Wisconsin and the Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences Jan. 21, 2022.
Keith Findley presented "How Do We Really Know Who Dunnit?" during the Wisconsin Science Festival, hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Wisconsin Institute for Discovery on Oct. 21, 2021.
Keith Findley presented "Beyond Subjective Judgments: The Importance of Quanitfying Data in Forensics" during CSI Korea, a conference co-hosted by the Korean National Police Agency and Korean Association of CSI on Oct. 20, 2021.
Keith Findley presented "Defending the Shaken Baby Case" at the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, 18th Annual Forensics Seminar, on Oct. 8, 2021.
Keith Findley presented during "Just Narratives: Covering Criminal Justice," in which panelists with expertise in criminal justice and journalism engaged in a public discussion about media ethics and the challenges of covering the justice system in the U.S. The event was hosted by The Center for Journalism Ethics. Watch the symposium.
Keith Findley presented "Cognitive Bias in Forensic Analyses and Criminal Investigations" at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories Training Program in June.
Keith Findley presented "Clinics at Wisconsin: Comprehensive, In-depth Pedagogy and Bottom-up Innovation" at the Wisconsin Law Review Symposium in 2021.
Keith Findley was a member of an independent panel of legal experts who reviewed the conviction of Myon Burrell, a Minnesota man serving life in prison for murder. Based largely on the panel's report, a judge commuted Burrell's sentence in December 2020. View the findings: Report of the Independent Panel to Examine the Conviction and Sentence of Myon Burrell (PDF).
Keith Findley served as an expert witness in State of Texas v. Nicholas Blount. The presiding judge cited Findley’s testimony in his December 7 ruling in the defendant’s favor, in which he placed limits on the testimony of the prosecution’s medical witnesses.
News & Media
Tuesday, May 3, 2022Keith Findley comments on charges from diagnoses of abusive head trauma, shaken baby syndrome
Monday, Apr 25, 2022Keith Findley comments on test of police body-worn cameras following Madison City Council vote
Wisconsin State Journal
Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021Keith Findley: After Rittenhouse, what an era of armed protest means for America
Monday, Nov 22, 2021Keith Findley comments: After Rittenhouse, will deadly clashes multiply as the right to self-defense expands?
The Washington Post
Thursday, Nov 18, 2021Keith Findley discusses Rittenhouse mistrial motion
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Monday, Nov 15, 2021Keith Findley on what makes Rittenhouse case so complicated
Friday, Nov 12, 2021Keith Findley discusses 'Plea Bargaining in the Shadow of a Retrial: Bargaining Away Innocence'
Wisconsin Public Radio
Tuesday, Nov 9, 2021Keith Findley comments on Rittenhouse trial
The Washington Post
Thursday, Nov 4, 2021Keith Findley named Lifetime Innovator by the State Bar of Wisconsin
The State Bar of Wisconsin
Tuesday, Nov 2, 2021Keith Findley discusses Rittenhouse judge, boundaries for language in court
Monday, Nov 1, 2021Keith Findley on why those shot by Rittenhouse can't be called "victims" at trial
Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021Just Narratives panel features Keith Findley
Tuesday, May 12, 2020Findley, Rogers awarded faculty fellowships for 2020-21