CHEYENNE – The Wyoming Supreme Court has issued an order suspending Buffalo attorney Greg L. Goddard from the practice of law for a period of 90 days. The suspension stemmed from Goddard’s conviction in federal court of misdemeanor contempt of court for filing a false Chapter 7 petition for a bankruptcy client. Goddard knowingly failed to list, as a contingent asset of the client, a $25,000 bequest which the client would receive under the terms of a decedent’s will. When the omission was discovered by the bankruptcy trustee, Goddard withdrew from the bankruptcy case and arranged for another lawyer to finish the matter, which ultimately resulted in the client obtaining a discharge in bankruptcy. Goddard stipulated to a two year suspension from practice before the bankruptcy court. The U.S. Attorney then filed criminal charges against Goddard, who entered a guilty plea to the misdemeanor offense of contempt of court. One of the terms of the sentence entered in federal court was that Goddard was required to serve 45 days in jail.
Bar Counsel filed a formal charge against Goddard, alleging that his conduct violated, among other rules, Rules 8.4(b) (engaging in criminal conduct that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects) and 8.4(c) (engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation) of the Wyoming Rules of Professional Conduct. Goddard stipulated that his conduct violated both rules, and the matter proceeded to a hearing before the Board of Professional Responsibility (BPR) for a determination of the appropriate sanction. Following hearing, the BPR determined that an appropriate sanction would be a suspension for 90 days, with 45 days credit for time served in jail. The BPR found that a number of mitigating factors weighed against imposition of harsher discipline, including (a) absence of a prior disciplinary record; (b) timely good faith effort to make restitution or rectify consequences of misconduct; (c) full and free disclosure to the Board and a cooperative attitude toward these proceedings; (d) character and reputation (three district judges attested to Respondent’s good character and competence as a lawyer); (e) imposition of other penalties or sanctions (jail time, suspension of practice in the bankruptcy court, adverse publicity and public humiliation); and (f) remorse.
In approving the BPR’s recommendation for a 90-day suspension with 45 days credit for jail time served, the Wyoming Supreme Court ordered Goddard to reimburse the Wyoming State Bar in the amount of $6,927.54, representing the costs incurred in the matter, as well as pay an administrative fee of $750.00 to the Bar. Goddard’s net suspension of 45 days will commence June 6, 2018.