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About me

Mr. Donahue was appointed by the court to serve as Special Prosecutor in 1984 to examine the leaking of privileged information in juvenile court.  He is a fellow in the prestigious American College of Trial Lawyers, co-founder and Charter President of the DuPage Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, past Chair of the Criminal Law Committee, President of the DuPage County Bar (1992-1993) and Chair of the Illinois State Bar Criminal Justice Section (1992-1993).  He has been certified by the Illinois Supreme Court to act as lead counsel in death penalty cases, and screens other attorneys for certification.


In June of 2000, Mr. Donahue was recognized by his peers as Lawyer of the Year.  On March 23, 2007, Mr. Donahue was inducted as a laureate of the Illinois Bar Association, joining a very select group of attorneys ever bestowed with this honor.


Mr. Donahue has authored numerous articles on criminal practice and lectured in various areas of criminal defense, including drug cases, sexual abuse, DUIs, DNA evidence, eavesdropping, and defenses in homicide cases.  He has been selected to draft legal briefs on behalf of the Illinois State Bar Association in two important cases before the Illinois Supreme Court: People v. James, and King v. Secretary of State Ryan.  The Bar's position was upheld by the Supreme Court in both cases.


In the past several years, in addition to numerous acquittals in drunk-driving cases, he has obtained favorable jury verdicts in several well-publicized sex abuse cases, reckless homicides, and other serious felony cases, including the last known acquittal in Illinois in the defense of attempted murder based upon organic brain syndrome, and an acquittal in a 1st Degree Murder case involving a child victim.  Mr. Donahue has been given the highest possible rating both by Martindale-Hubbell and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.


Guest speaker (2003): American Association of Psychiatry & the Law; Edward Hospital, Sexual Abuse Seminar; Kane County Bar Association on sentencing, and DuPage County Bar on effective closing arguments.



Practice areas


  1. Federal Crime: 25%
    5 years
  2. DUI & DWI: 25%
    5 years
  3. Appeals: 25%
    5 years
  4. Criminal Defense: 25%
    5 years


Payment types:

Cash, Check, Credit card

Attorney endorsements

3 total 

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  • Glenn M. Sowa

    I endorse this lawyer.


    Glenn Sowa DUI & DWI Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • Michael S. Waddington

    I endorse John. He is a highly skilled attorney that is well respected in the legal community.


    Michael Waddington Military Law Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

Contact info

Donahue, Sowa & Magana

1555 Bond Street
Suite 103
Naperville, IL, 60563

Donahue, Sowa & Magana

240 W. River Drive
St. Charles, IL, 60174



ILActive And Authorized To Practice Law197111/12/2015
We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo contributions
Legal answers
Award nameGrantorDate granted
Super LawyerIllinois Super Lawyers2011
Super LawyerIllinois Super Lawyers2010
Super LawyerIllinois Super Lawyers2009
Super LawyerIllinois Super Lawyers2008
Association namePosition nameDuration
Illinois State Bar AssociationChairman1992 - 1993
DuPage County Bar AssociationPresident1992 - 1993
DuPage County Bar AssociationChairman1992 - 1993
DuPage County Bar AssociationPresident1992 - 1993
DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers AssociationPresident1978 - 1979
DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers AssociationPresident1975 - 1976
Illinois State Bar AssociationMemberN/A
DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers AssociationMemberN/A
National Association of Criminal Defense LawyersMemberN/A
Kane County Bar AssociationMemberN/A
DuPage County Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Chicago Bar AssociationMemberN/A
Publication nameTitleDate
DuPage Bar BriefEmergency Blood Tests: New Road Around Fourth Amendment1992
Illinois State Bar AssociationSufficiency of Criminal Complaints: A Separate Standard for Traffic Offenses1988
School nameMajorDegreeGraduated
Loyola University School of LawLawJD - Juris Doctor1971
Loyola UniversityN/ABS - Bachelor of Science1967