EXPANDING EXPERIENTIAL: CIVIL PROCEDURE COURSE HOSTS CLASS ACTION REPRESENTATIVE
December 2022 — In the final substantive class for the semester, Associate Dean for Experiential Education Mae C. Quinn helped 1L students to experience first-hand the impact of Rule 23 class action litigation by hosting former class representative Norman Brown as a guest. Brown, formerly sentenced to life without parole when he was just 15 years old, had been represented by Quinn and her clinic students over many years as they tried to seek sentencing relief for Brown and others under the United States Supreme Court case of Miller v. Alabama.
Ultimately, after the Missouri Supreme Court sent Mr. Brown’s case to the parole board rather than a trial court for resentencing, Quinn and other lawyers filed a class action challenging the sufficiency of limited parole board review. As a result of the litigation, the Missouri Parole Board changed its restrictive practices and ultimately granted Norman Brown’s release.
Mr. Brown shared with the students what it was like to be “the man and the name behind the case.” He explained that he felt fortunate that his role in the litigation helped over 80 youth previously sentenced to die behind bars to receive a second chance. Her further offered advice to the law students, urging them to remember that the law is not just about courts and written decisions but people’s lives — and that as caring advocates they can make a difference.
Brown had been sentenced to an automatic life without parole sentence although he was an unarmed child pressured to serve as a decoy in a robbery-gone-terribly-wrong by an adult twice his age.
Professor Mae C. Quinn brings over 25 years of experience as a practicing attorney, civil rights advocate, and leader in the legal academy to her role as associate dean of experiential education. She has successfully taught across the entire law school curriculum, including legal writing, doctrinal, seminar, field placement/practicum, trial advocacy, and clinical legal education courses. She and her law students have also recently filed amicus briefs with the United States Supreme Court and state high courts in several important criminal and youth justice matters. Her scholarship, cited widely by courts, advocates and academics alike, has been published in leading journals including the Boston College Law Review, BYU Law Review, Iowa Law Review, SMU Law Review, Wake Forest Law Review, Washington and Lee Law Review, Harvard Journal of Gender and Law, and New York University Review of Law and Social Change.