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 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.
Keith Findley was elected co-chair of Madison's new Police Body-Worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee. The ad hoc committee was created by the City of Madison to study whether the Madison Police Department should begin an officer body-worn camera program, and if so, what the policies governing the use of such cameras should be.
Keith Findley was appointed to Madison's new Body-Worn Camera Feasibility Review Committee. The committee was created following a comprehensive four-year study of local police force policies, practices and procedures by the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Review Ad Hoc Committee, which Findley co-chaired.
Keith Findley presented "Lessons from the Innocence Cases: Litigating Tunnel Vision," a webinar hosted by Temple University Beasley School of Law in January 2020.
In November 2019, Keith Findley participated on the panel "The Last Ten Years of the Innocence Movement," at a University of Michigan Law School symposium celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the Michigan Innocence Clinic. Other panelists included Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McComack, Professor Sam Gross, Professor Eve Primus, Professor David Moran, and Attorney Valerie Newman.
Keith Findley presented "Cognitive Bias in Death Investigations" at the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Annual Symposium on November 13, 2019.
Keith Findley presented "Cognitive Bias in the Criminal Justice System" at the Wisconsin State Crime Laboratories Symposium, "Instruments of Justice: Working in Concert for the People of Wisconsin" in October 2019. This was the State Crime Laboratories' inaugural annual symposium, which brought together police, prosecutors, defense attorneys and forensic analysts.
Keith Findley presented "Flawed Forensics and Procedural Justice" at a symposium organized by the Korean National Police University titled, "Democratic Society and Procedural Justice." This international symposium was attended by scholars, practitioners and police officers. He also gave a guest lecture, "Wrongful Conviction of the Innocent," to a group of faculty and students at the Korean National Police University. Both took place in Seoul, South Korea, in October 2019.
Keith Findley presented "Defending the Shaken Baby Case" at the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association's 17th Annual Forensics Conference.
Keith Findley presented "Litigating Complex Medical Child Abuse Cases" at Cardozo School of Law's National Forensic College in June.
Keith Findley presented his paper, "Defining Innocence," at a session entitled "New Wrongful Conviction Scholarship" at the Innocence Network 2011 Conference: An International Exploration of Wrongful Conviction at the University of Cincinnati College of Law.
Keith Findley spoke in a series of symposia entitled “Victim Empowerment through DNA Forensics,” presented to human rights workers, prosecutors, police, and academics at a series of sites in South Africa, including the National Prosecuting Authority in Johannesburg, the Centre on Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, the National Prosecuting Authority in Port Elizabeth, the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, and the University of the Western Cape in Cape Town.
Keith Findley presented "Lessons from the Innocence Movement" to the Norwegian Academy for Science and Letters, as part of a symposium on evidence in criminal cases.
News & Media
Thursday, Apr 15, 2021Keith Findley discusses police searches of cellphone data
Courthouse News Service
Monday, Feb 8, 2021Keith Findley: Prosecutors, defense attorneys quarrel over Kyle Rittenhouse's location
Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021Keith Findley: Madison committee works to finalize recommendations for police body cameras
Thursday, Jan 7, 2021Keith Findley breaks down Jacob Blake decision
Wednesday, Dec 16, 2020Keith Findley served on national legal panel whose findings led to freeing Myon Burrell in Minnesota
Tuesday, Dec 8, 2020When can law enforcement search your phone? Keith Findley discusses
Wednesday, Nov 4, 2020Keith Findley wins state bar's Legal Innovator award for his work to improve forensic science in courtrooms
Thursday, Oct 29, 2020Keith Findley discusses fatal police shooting of Marcellis Stinnette in Illinois
The Washington Post
Wednesday, Oct 14, 2020Keith Findley discusses structure of Madison's new police oversight board
Wednesday, Oct 7, 2020Keith Findley weighs in on the search for a new Madison police chief
The Capital Times
Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020Keith Findley appointed to Madison's new civilian oversight board
Saturday, Sep 12, 2020Teen charged in Kenosha shootings may fight extradition; Keith Findley comments
Tuesday, May 12, 2020Findley, Rogers awarded faculty fellowships for 2020-21