A nationally recognized authority on criminal punishment, Professor O'Hear teaches criminal law and related courses. He is an editor of the Federal Sentencing Reporter and the author of more than sixty scholarly articles, books, and book chapters on sentencing, criminal procedure, and other legal topics. His publications have appeared in such journals as the Yale Law Journal, Duke Law Journal, Northwestern University Law Review, Iowa Law Review, and Vanderbilt Law Review.
Professor O'Hear is a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School, where he was editor-in-chief of the Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities and an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, he clerked for United States District Court Judge Janet Bond Arterton in New Haven, Connecticut. He then practiced civil and criminal litigation for three years at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal in Chicago. He joined the Marquette Law School faculty in 2000, and served as the Law School's first Associate Dean for Research from 2008 to 2015.
Professor O'Hear's scholarly work has been cited by the Sixth, Seventh, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, two state supreme courts, and numerous federal district courts. He has been quoted on CNN and in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and other newspapers from around the country.
Professor O'Hear has been a member of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission since 2010, and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Commission. In 2009, he chaired the Federal Nominating Commission to Appoint the United States Attorney in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. He has been awarded the Robert W. Warren Public Service Award by the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bar Association.