Sean O'Brien photo

Sean O'Brien


Sean O’Brien, Associate Professor at UMKC Law School, teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Postconviction Remedies and a death penalty representation clinic. He has represented people in capital trial, appeal and post-conviction cases across the country since 1983. He is widely published in the field of capital defense, and in 2009 he received the National Sentencing Project Award and the Daniel J. Brenner Legal Writing Award for his article, When Life Depends on It:  Supplementary Guidelines for the Mitigation Function of Defense Teams in Death Penalty Cases, which articulates contemporary standards of performance for defense lawyers and mitigation specialists in death penalty cases. Professor O’Brien has served as the Jackson County Public Defender, Director of the Missouri Capital Punishment Resource Center (now the Death Penalty Litigation Clinic), Chair of the Missouri Bar Criminal Law Committee, and is a past President of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.