Daniel Bouton graduated from Brown University in 1976 with a double major in European History and Sociology. He moved to Virginia in the summer of 1976 and began law school that fall, graduating in 1979 with a J.D. While at the Law School, Bouton developed an interest in trial work through a number of activities, and was a member of an organization of students called the Post Conviction Assistance Project, the goal of which was to help prisoners with a variety of problems.
Bouton also served as the first Student Executive Secretary for the Virginia Model Jury Instructions Committee, which was then in the process of putting together the first volumes of the civil and criminal instructions now used on a daily basis in Virginia's circuit courts. The committee consisted of prominent, experienced trial attorneys and several circuit court judges, and was a formative experience for Bouton.
Following law school, he took a position with a small Charlottesville general practice law firm, and began trying both civil and criminal cases. He moved to Greene County in 1980 and was elected Commonwealth's Attorney there in 1983. He was reelected four times and spent more than 16 years handling Greene County's criminal cases, including more than a hundred jury trials, two capital murder trials and several homicide cases. During this time, Bouton was also chairman of the Central Virginia Regional Jail Board for nearly 10 years, beginning in 1991.
In 2000, Bouton was elected by the state legislature to serve as a judge of the Sixteenth Judicial Circuit. In 2008, he was elected to a second eight-year term, and in February 2012, Bouton was chosen by his colleagues to serve as chief justice. For four years (2002-06), he previously served as the chief judge. Bouton also previously served as the chairman of the Virginia Supreme Court's Judicial Administration Committee. He currently serves as a judicial mentor in a mentoring program for new judges that was recently adopted by the Supreme Court of Virginia. The Sixteenth Circuit is served by five circuit court judges, and covers nine jurisdictions: Albemarle, Culpeper, Greene, Goochland, Fluvanna, Louisa, Madison and Orange counties, and the city of Charlottesville. Bouton generally presides in Greene, Madison and Orange.
Bouton has been married since 1977 and has three grown sons.