Judge Stacey Donovan

KU Jayhawk
  • Adjunct Faculty
  • Douglas County District Court Judge


Judge Stacey Donovan joined the Third Judicial District Public Defender’s Office as an assistant public defender after graduation from KU Law in 1997 and became the Chief Public Defender in 2011. She became an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy in 2008. She was sworn in as the Douglas County District Court Judge in 2020.

As a public defender, she defends indigent adults charged with felony crimes in Kansas District Court throughout the trial process. Her caseload consists of all types of felonies, with the majority of cases being sex offenses, homicides and other person crimes. She has dual B.A. degrees from Simmons University in Boston, Massachusetts and a J.D. from the University of Kansas.


J.D., University of Kansas, 1997
B.A. in African-American Studies, Simmons University, 1992
B.A. in English Literature, Simmons University, 1992


Research Interests

  • Offender registration law


Courses Taught:

  • Trial Advocacy

Career History

Chief Public Defender, Third Judicial District Public Defender Office, 2011-present; Assistant Public Defender 1997-2011; Adjunct Professor Trial Advocacy, KU Law, 2008-present. Appointed to the Kansas Sentencing Commission in 2015, currently serving second term. Douglas County District Court Judge 2020-present.


Kansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Board of Governors since 2013; Shawnee County Jail Public Relations Board, Chair since 2016; Topeka Bar Association member; Women Attorney Association of Topeka member; Topeka Criminal Defense Bar member; and Kansas Task Force on Attorney Well-Being member.


Kansas and United States District Court 1997