Judge McDonald grew up in North Hollywood, California. He attended St.Charles Borromeo Elementary School and Crespi Carmelite High School. He received a political science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989. He received his Juris Doctor degree from Vermont Law School in May, 1996. Judge McDonald has practiced law in Colorado since November 1996. Judge McDonald was appointed the Gunnison Municipal Judge in May 2005 and continues to serve the City of Gunnison in that role. He served as adjunct lecturer at Western State Colorado University from August 2014 until May 2017. He was appointed as the Alamosa Municipal Judge in December 2017.
Judge McDonald was married in 1995 and has two daughters. His hobbies include fishing, hunting, reading, and golfing (poorly).