JULIE M. McDONALD / Criminal Law / Juvenile Law
Julie M. McDonald was born and raised in Everett, Washington. She attended the University of Washington and graduated in 1997 with a degree in Sociology with an emphasis in African-American History. In 2000, she earned her J.D. from California Western School of Law in San Diego, California.
While in law school, Julie did an internship at the San Diego County Public Defender, Juvenile Division. There she represented juveniles in all stages of their cases. She then interned for Don LeVine and helped defend a client charged with over a 100 counts of murder, robbery, aggravated assaults, attempted murders, pimping, pandering, exploitation of minors, and gang allegations. The trial lasted over three months and the verdict was announced the day of graduation. Julie also wrote an article on the infamous Dred Scott case for the Encyclopedia of Ethic Studies.
After law school, Julie accepted a job in Cochise County, Arizona with the Legal Defender Office. She worked for them part-time while studying for the Bar exam. Julie passed the bar exam on her first try and immediately started representing juveniles again. From detention hearings to appeals, Julie represented children charged with crimes throughout the entire process. One appeal even resulted in a published opinion by the Arizona Court of Appeals. After a year in juvenile court, Julie began handling a caseload of exclusively felony matters. These cases involved everything from a small amount of possession of marijuana to numerous first degree murder cases. Julie has defended clients in trials on stolen cars, aggravated assaults, drugs for sale, child molestation and first degree murder.
While working in felony court, Julie discovered a passion for representing juveniles tried in adult court. At first, that energy was put into researching and advocating in any way possible against the juvenile death penalty. Once that was abolished in 2004, Julie began advocating on behalf of juveniles being tried in adult court. Her most challenging case involved a 16 year old who had been charged with murdering his parents. While he was found guilty at trial, many of the issues raised in that case (such as age, rehabilitation, and fairness questions) were brought up on appeal and shed light on this subject across the State. Julie published an article in The Defender about juveniles being charged in adult court and taught a class on the subject at the 2008 Arizona Public Defender Association annual seminar.
In 2007, Julie received an offer to join the Yuma County Legal Defender Office as a Senior Trial Attorney. Realizing the potential opportunity, Julie packed up and moved to Yuma that July. She stayed with the Legal Defender for a year before taking an associate position with Donovan Law in August of 2008.
Also in 2008, after meeting stringent requirements set forth by the Arizona State Bar and passing a four hour test, Julie became certified as a Criminal Law Specialist. There are approximately 70 criminal law specialists in the State of Arizona. Three are here in Yuma, with two of them in the Donovan Law Office. It was a goal Julie set for herself right out of law school and worked hard at achieving it.
Julie has been a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys and a past member of the Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice. She maintains her death penalty certification and is an opponent of the death penalty.
Being in private practice has allowed Julie more time to concentrate on her cases and help those who have found themselves needing a criminal defense attorney. Dedicating herself to being a criminal defense attorney is a life-long love and calling and she cannot imagine herself doing anything else.