Daniel Donovan brings a high level of experience, skill, dedication, and concern to his clients and their families. Educated at one of the finest universities in the world, he has been practicing law out of Great Falls for 33 years.
Donovan has appeared in State and Federal courts throughout the State of Montana. He frequently briefs and argues cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. In 1996 and 1997, Donovan argued and won a case before the United States Supreme Court.
Unmatched in all levels of criminal litigation, he has been recognized as one of the leading criminal defense lawyers in Montana. United States District Judge Donald W. Molloy observed that Donovan is “a very accomplished criminal defense lawyer”; “extraordinarily competent”; “a remarkable attorney”; and is “one of the premier defense lawyers in the state.” According to United States District Judge Charles C. Lovell, “Mr. Donovan has been recognized as one of the senior criminal defense counsel in Montana. And he is an outstanding criminal defense lawyer.” Several years ago, the late United States District Judge Paul G. Hatfield stated, “I’ve watched a lot of people work, and Donovan’s integrity is just beyond reproach.....whatever he does, he’ll go right to the wall...and if I’m wrong, he takes it to the World Court. He does everything he’s supposed to do.”
A Life Member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers as well as of the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Donovan was founder and first chair of the Criminal Defense Section of the State Bar of Montana. He was recently named Montana Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year for 2009. Donovan was also awarded the Charles F. (Timer) Moses Award by the Montana State Bar in 1997 in recognition of his outstanding and committed service in the practice of criminal defense law in Montana. He is a past president of the Montana Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Montana Innocence Project.
U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit, 1981
U.S. Federal Court, 1977
U.S. Supreme Court, 1985
J.D., 1976, Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco, California
B.S. (with honors), 1971, Conservation of Natural Resources,
University of California, Berkeley
Over 33 years experience in civil and criminal practice, with focus on criminal defense. Extensive trial experience as court-appointed and retained criminal defense counsel in state and federal court. Experienced and proficient at handling federal criminal cases -- trials, appeals, sentencing guidelines. Administrative and supervisory experience as Senior Assistant Federal Defender and as Chief Public Defender of Cascade County.
October 2000 to present:
PRIVATE PRACTITIONER; GREAT FALLS, MONTANA
Criminal and civil practice, with primary emphasis on criminal defense.
March 1993 to September 2000
FEDERAL DEFENDERS OF MONTANA, GREAT FALLS, MONTANA
Assistant Federal Defender and Senior Assistant Federal Defender.
February 1993 to June 1981
OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER OF CASCADE COUNTY, MONTANA
Chief Public Defender and Assistant Public Defender (Part-time)
October 1976 to March 1993
PRIVATE PRACTITIONER; GREAT FALLS, MONTANA
General civil and criminal practice, with emphasis on criminal defense.
CASCADE COUNTY BAR ASSOCIATION - President 2004-2005
CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT PANEL - Training Coordinator 1991-1993
MONTANA INNOCENCE PROJECT - Board Member 2008-present
MONTANA PUBLIC DEFENDER COMMISSION - Member 2005-2008
MONTANA APPELLATE DEFENDER COMMISSION - Member 1991-2001
MONTANA CRIMINAL PROCEDURE COMMISSION - Member 1983-1993
MONTANA STATE BAR, Criminal Defense Section - Founder and First Chair
MONTANA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAW YERS
- Life Member, President 2007-2008
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAYWERS
- Life Member
Co-Author, The Prisoner’s Dilemma Becomes the Lawyer’s Dilemma, To be a Zealous Advocate or a Judas Goat, The Montana Lawyer (Dec 2009/Jan 2010)
Co-Author, Comes a Time: The Case for Recording Interrogations, Montana Law Review (Winter 2000) and The Champion (December 2002)
2009: Montana Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year
1997: Recipient, The Charles F. (Timer) Moses Award, for Outstanding and Committed Service in the Practice of Criminal Defense Law in Montana
Johnny Lynn Old Chief v. United States, 519 U.S. 172 (1997)
United States v. Shane Maggi, ___ F.3d ___ (9 th Cir. 2010)
In re Kenneth R. Olson, 202 Fed.Appx. 721 (9 th Cir. 2006)
United States v. John Lence, 466 F.3d 721 (9 th Cir. 2006)
United States v. Priest Butte Farm, Inc., 315 F.3d 1176 (9 th Cir. 2003)
United States v. Cecil Jackson, 726 F.2d 1466 (9 th Cir. 1984)
United States v. Henrietta Ell, 718 F.2d 291 (9 th Cir. 1983)
State of Montana v. Harvey Niemi, 252 Mont. 531, 830 P.2d 1280 (1992)
State of Montana v. Casey Furlong, 213 Mont. 251, 690 P.2d 986 (1984)
State of Montana v. Kenneth Zampich, 205 Mont. 231, 667 P.2d 955 (1983)
Trombley v. County of Cascade, et.al., USDC DMt CV-87-114-GF-PGH (1990)