Thomas ‘T.J.’ Donovan was elected as Attorney General for the state of Vermont in November 2016. Donovan is focused on prosecuting those who commit violent crimes, protecting its victims, reducing recidivism, improving rehabilitation, and advocating for medical treatment for those with drug addiction problems.
Early Life and Education
Donovan, a native of Burlington, was born on January 15, 1974 to attorney Thomas J. Donovan and Vermont State Representative Johannah Leddy Donovan. He is one of six children in the family. Donovan obtained a BA from Merrimack College and earned his JD from Suffolk Law School.
Following law school, Donovan worked as a criminal prosecutor in Philadelphia. He returned to Vermont in 2002 to serve as a Deputy State’s Attorney General in Chittenden Country, later leaving to work at the private law firm Jarvis & Kaplan in Burlington, VT where he specialized in civil litigation and criminal defense work. In 2006, Donovan was elected State’s Attorney for Chittenden County, Vermont’s most populous county, and was re-elected in 2010 and 2014.
As Chittenden County State’s Attorney, Donovan’s office handled more than 5,000 criminal cases and 300 Family Court cases. In 2010, he started the Rapid Intervention Community Court criminal justice program which was made available to non-violent offenders who suffered from mental illness or addiction. In 2015, his office also launched a successful ticket amnesty program which allowed drivers to pay a small fine and recover their suspended licenses. The program was later duplicated across the state.
Donovan is a champion for all Vermonters, and during his tenure thus far, he has worked in a bipartisan fashion to strengthen protections for undocumented immigrants in Vermont. Donovan is also a strong supporter of restorative justice, and has advocated for abolishing the use of private prisons, ending the use of cash bail, and expanding parole eligibility and compassionate release for older inmates. Donovan is also working to enhance communication among law enforcement and the mental health community.
T.J. lives with his wife Jessica McCloud and their two sons.