exclusive focus on Strengthening Forensic Science

History of CIFS

The Center for Integrity in Forensic Sciences (CIFS) is a new non-profit, incorporated in 2017. It is the brainchild of Prof. Keith A. Findley, a co-founder more than twenty years ago of the Wisconsin Innocence Project, a former appellate public defender, and now a tenured member of the faculty at the University of Wisconsin Law School.

Prof. Findley approached his longtime friends, Dean Strang and Jerome Buting, in 2017 about launching CIFS. Strang and Buting, both Wisconsin criminal defense lawyers since the 1980’s, came to national attention for their work defending Steven Avery in a homicide case that became the center of the wildly popular Netflix documentary series, Making A Murderer.

Prof. Findley’s academic interest for almost three decades—he has produced nearly 50 journal articles and book chapters—has included forensic science and its weaknesses, among them the effects of cognitive biases. Jerome Buting, a practitioner and the author of the well-regarded Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System (Harper 2017), has a background in forensic sciences beginning with his undergraduate degree and continuing through more than 36 years of criminal practice. Dean Strang is a practitioner and a legal historian (Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror (U. Wisconsin Press 2013 & rev. ed. 2016); Keep the Wretches in Order: America’s Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW (U. Wisconsin Press 2019)), author of several other law review articles, and has served more than fifteen years as an adjunct law professor.

Together, the three founders of CIFS forged a collaborative partnership with the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery, which brings together a wide range of scientists, and its executive team. A national advisory board with leading scientists, legal academics, and experts in forensic science began to meet regularly in 2018. Today, with a fulltime Executive Director and a clinical course syllabus in development, CIFS is making steady progress in its pursuit of legislative, systemic, and direct service goals.