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.
Prof. Findley is the author of more than 50 law review articles and book chapters. His new book--co-edited with 5 other scholars from a variety of disciplines--entitled "Shaken Baby Syndrome: Investigating the Abusive Head Trauma Controversy," will be published by Cambridge University Press in Europe in June 2023 and in the United States iin August 2023 (see https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/shaken-baby-syndrome/67016F1A1F6ED92141A179E9A5D145FB).
Prof. Findley's 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.
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.
Scholarship & Publications
- Wrongful Convictions
- Eyewitness Identification Procedures
- Interrogations & False Confessions
- Forensic Sciences
- Legal/Clinical Education
Keith Findley presented "Defending the Shaken Baby Case" during the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association 19th Annual Forensics Seminar on Oct. 21, 2022.
Keith Findley presented "Ending Manner-of-Death Opinion Testimony and other Medical Determinations of Crime" during the Cardozo Law School National Forensics College on June 16, 2022. The College prepares attorneys to litigate complex forensic science issues strategically and with the support of the nation's leading law firms and experts.
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 and others posted "Plea Bargaining in the Shadow of a Retrial: Bargaining Away Innocence" to SSRN. Read the abstract.
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, the Wisconsin Innocence Project, and students were refereced in the book "Redeeming Justice" by former Wisconsin Innocence Project client Jarrett Adams. Read a review of the book.
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 served as a panelist for the discussion "Making Sense of the Derek Chauvin Verdict" hosted by University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for the Humanities.
Keith Findley presented “The Absence or Misuse of Statistics in Forensic Science as a Contributor to Wrongful Convictions” at the Penn State Dickinson Law Review Symposium in April.
News & Media
Tuesday, Apr 4, 2023Dane Co. Voters Voice Confusion Over Statewide Ballot Referendum Questions; Keith Findley Discusses
Tuesday, Mar 14, 2023Keith Findley Comments on Diane Allan's Filing Against Farmington Police
Thursday, Jan 5, 2023Keith Findley: 25 Years of Working to Free Those Wrongfully Convicted
Monday, Nov 21, 2022Decades-Old Case Inspires New Research on Shaken Baby Syndrome Convictions; Keith Findley Comments
Tuesday, Nov 8, 2022Keith Findley: Appointment of Robert Copley as New Independent Police Monitor May Help Community Trust MPD
The Badger Herald
Thursday, Nov 3, 2022Will Darrell Brooks Jr. Seek to Overturn His Conviction? Keith Findley and Ion Meyn Say a Successful Appeal is Unlikely
Wisconsin Public Radio
Wednesday, Nov 2, 2022Greg Wiercioch Continues Along ‘Unprecedented’ Path in Texas Death Penalty Case
Tuesday, Nov 1, 2022Can a Reddit Post Impact the Darrell Brooks Case? Keith Findley Comments
Friday, Oct 28, 2022Keith Findley Explains What a 'Sovereign Citizen' is and Why the Argument Doesn't Stand in Court
Wednesday, Oct 26, 2022Keith Findley Discusses How Darrell Brooks' Behavior Throughout Trial Could Impact His Fate
WKOW 27 News
Thursday, Oct 20, 2022Brooks Began his Defense Wednesday, Keith Findley Comments
Wisconsin Public Radio
Friday, Nov 12, 2021Updated: UW Law experts provide context on criminal law during Kyle Rittenhouse trial
Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021Just Narratives panel features Keith Findley
Tuesday, May 12, 2020Findley, Rogers awarded faculty fellowships for 2020-21
Monday, Feb 11, 2019In False Positive, Keith Findley tells the story of a Wisconsin man's wrongful conviction
- Appellate Advocacy
- Criminal Law
- Criminal Procedure
- Law and Science