Wayne R. LaFave

David C. Baum Professor of Law Emeritus and Center for Advanced Study Professor Emeritus

Professor LaFave received his B.S., LL.B. and S.J.D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin, where he was Phi Beta Kappa, Order of the Coif, and Knapp Fellow. He joined the Illinois law faculty in 1961 and was later honored as a Guggenheim Fellow and a University Scholar of Excellence. In 1978 he was appointed to the College’s first named professorship, and then in 1980 was designated a permanent member of the University’s Center for Advanced Study. Professor LaFave served as the first associate dean of the College of Law and was acting dean in 1974. He has also taught at the University of Michigan and Villanova University. LaFave is presently the David C. Baum Professor of Law Emeritus and Center for Advanced Study Professor Emeritus and remains very active as an author and scholar.

LaFave is best known for his longstanding research activities regarding the Fourth Amendment, commencing with his empirically-based book, Arrest: The Decision to Take a Suspect Into Custody, published in 1965 as part of the American Bar Foundation’s Survey of the Administration of Criminal Justice in the United States, and culminating in his multi-volume treatise, Search and Seizure, most recently published in its 2012 fifth edition, running over 6,000 pages, and substantially updated annually thereafter.  Some have thus concluded, as it was put in one appellate court opinion some years ago, that LaFave is the “patron saint of search and seizure law.”  Less restrained is the judgment expressed in a 2013 book about the Supreme Court’s treatment of the Fourth Amendment, where it is asserted that LaFave is “the greatest scholar on the Fourth Amendment in American history.”

Professor LaFave’s work over the years has extended as well to other aspects of criminal procedure. He is the co-author of the multi-volume treatise titled Criminal Procedure (now in its 7-volume fourth edition, updated annually) and a hornbook of the same name (now in it’s fifth edition), as well as Principles of Criminal Procedure: Investigation (second edition), Principles of Criminal Procedure: Post-Investigation (second edition), and Criminal Procedure: Constitutional Limitations (eighth edition). He is the co-author of the leading casebook, Modern Criminal Procedure (now in its fourteenth edition), as well as three other procedure casebooks. With respect to the law defining crimes and principles of accountability and defense, LaFave is the sole author of the Modern Criminal Law casebook (now in its fifth edition), the Criminal Law hornbook (also fifth edition), the Principles of Criminal Law text (now in its second edition), as well as the treatise entitled Substantive Criminal Law (now in its 3-volume second edition and updated annually).

Professor LaFave has also written extensively for the law reviews. His articles have addressed such matters as the scope and status of the Fourth Amendment (e.g., The Smell of Herring [J.Crim.L & Criminology]; A Fourth Amendment Fantasy: The Last (Heretofore Unpublished) Search and Seizure Decision of the Burger Court [U.Ill.L.Rev.]; Mapp Revisited: Shakespeare, J., and Other Fourth Amendment Poets [Stan.L.Rev.]; The Fourth Amendment as a ‘Big Time’ TV Fad [Hastings L.J.]); the peculiarities of legal scholarship (e.g., Surfing as Scholarship: The Emerging Critical Cyberspace Studies Movement [Geo.L.J.]; Livrebleu 17: Les Conséquences Tragiques Forgeés par le Professeur Répugnant Nommé Grantmore [U.Ill.L.Rev.]); and the foibles of his colleagues (e.g., What is a Kamisar? [Mich.L.Rev.]; Rotunda: Il Professore Prolifico Ma Piccolo [U.Ill.L.Rev.]).

Professor LaFave is among the most cited law professors in the country. His books and articles have been quoted or referenced by the U.S. Supreme Court in over 160 cases and in well over 17,000 reported appellate opinions in all. His work has also been discussed or adverted to in over 8,000 law review articles to date.

Over the years, Professor LaFave has been active in several endeavors seeking improvements in criminal justice administration. He was a member of the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the U.S., the ABA Task Force on Technology and Law Enforcement, and the ABA Committee on Criminal Justice in a Free Society, and he was chairman of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on Criminal Justice Programs. He has also served as reporter/draftsman for the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States, the Uniform Rules of Criminal Procedure project of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws, and the Standards for Criminal Justice project of the American Bar Association.  Professor LaFave has also been involved in several research and educational efforts of national scope, most notably, as a member of the Editorial Board of the four-volume Encyclopedia of Crime and Justice and as consultant and contributing writer for the PBS show Search and Seizure: The Supreme Court and the Police.