Robert Carson Godbey: New Corporation Counsel for City & County of Honolulu

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Robert Carson Godbey

Reached at his Honolulu office today, Attorney Robert Carson Godbey, partner in Godbey Griffiths, LLLC, and a registered patent attorney, confirmed he will take over as the corporation counsel for the City & County of Honolulu as of July 1, 2011.

The Honolulu City Council will need to confirm Godbey. He replaces Carrie K.S. Okinaga.


Godbey is well known for heading up the special investigative team hired by the state to analyze where the responsibility lies for the Ka Loko Dam breach on Kauai. Former Attorney General Mark Bennett, who hired Godbey to produce the Ka Loko report, told Hawaii Reporter: “Bob Godbey is a great lawyer and choice. He is an excellent lawyer and he will be a great corporation counsel.”

Godbey has had a varied education and career in private and public service. He has degrees in electrical engineering and math from SMU in Dallas, Texas, in 1975, and Harvard Law School, where he graduated cum laude, He worked as a telecommunications engineer for Southwestern Bell and Texas Instruments, as a teaching fellow and associate with the Harvard Program on Information Resources Policy and in private practice for four years in Washington, D.C., where he focused on commercial and intellectual property litigation before the FCC.

He’s also been in government service before, serving for 7 years in the United States Department of Justice. That included time as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Hawaii, which allowed him to focused on white collar fraud and computer fraud and serve as the lead trial attorney on 30 cases tried to verdict.

Forbes covered Godbey’s prosecution of the “Coconut Connection” case, one of the largest telecommunications fraud cases in the nation. He’s been recognized with commendations from the Department of Justice, the United States Secret Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chief Postal Inspector.

In 1991, Godbey went into private practice as lead partner in his successful Honolulu law firm, which also includes former U.S. Attorney Daniel Bent, primarily handles commercial matters to include Internet, intellectual property and health care law.

According to the firm’s web site, its attorneys specialize in intellectual property – patent, trademark, and copyright – on both a state and federal levels, health care, business and corporate, and real estate related legal tasks. The firm is also know for its alternative dispute resolution division, commercial litigation, and defense of white collar fraud matters.

Honolulu Magazine recognized him as one of “Hawaii’s Best Lawyers,” and he also is noted in a Woodward/White reference in “Best Lawyers in America.”

His involvement in Hawaii’s judiciary is extensive: He served as one of five lawyer delegates from Hawaii to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference; he was lawyer chair of the U.S. District Court Hawaii District Conference in 2006; he was past chair of the Hawaii State Bar Association Intellectual Property Section as well as of the HSBA Technology Committee; he was a member of the Hawaii Supreme Court’s Standing Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions for more than a decade; and served on the the Board of Bar Examiners.

Some of his more prominent cases in his private legal practice include serving as counsel of record in: Mroz v. Hoaloha Na Eha, Inc., 360 F..Supp.2d. 1122 (D.Haw. 2005); Kaiser v. First Hawaiian Bank, 30 F.Supp.2d 1255 (D.Hawaii 1997), aff’d sub nom. Koken v. First Hawaiian Bank, 2000 U.S. App. LEXIS 22719 (9th Cir. 2000); Warner v. Denis, 84 Hawai’i 338, 933 P.2d 1372 (ICA 1997); Unity House, Inc. v. NPI, 918 F.Supp. 1384 (D.Haw. 1996); Batdorf v. Equifax, 949 F.Supp. 777 (D.Haw 1996), 1999 U.S.App. LEXIS 7380 (9th Cir. 1999); Pedrina v. Chun, 906 F.Supp. 1377 (D.Haw. 1995); Pedrina v. Chun, 987 F.2d 608 (9th Cir. 1993); Arai v. Tachibana, 778 F.Supp 1535 (D.Haw. 1991); In re Motion for Return of Property, 681 F.Supp. 677 (D.Haw. 1988); Waller v. United States, 531 A.2d. 994 (D.C. 1986); McKoy v. United States, 518 A.2d 1013 (D.C. 1986); United States v. Barbour, 813 F.2d 1232 (D.C. Cir. 1987); Glascoe v. United States, 514 A.2d 455 (D.C. 1986); Robinson v. United States, 513 A.2d 218 (D.C. 1986); Doepel v. United States, 510 A.2d 1044 (D.C. 1986); Osgood v. District of Columbia, 567 F.Supp. 1026 (D.D.C. 1983).





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