Former Justice Department lawyer to probe dam break
Attorney General Mark Bennett has named Robert Carson Godbey as the special deputy attorney general to investigate the March 14 Ka Loko Dam break that killed seven people.
A special legislative committee submitted five finalists to Bennett on June 22 after the Legislature decided an independent investigator was needed since the state could face its own liability concerns regarding the breach.
A lawsuit has already been filed on behalf of those killed in the breach, but it names only the dam owners, and not the state, as defendants.
Godbey, a technology, intellectual property rights and patent attorney who also has a degree in electrical engineering and math, is a partner in the Godbey Griffiths Reiss Chong law firm. He is also known for his monthly column in Hawaii Business magazine.
Bennett, in a news release, called Godbey "a lawyer of exceptional talent and unquestioned ethics" who "has significant investigative experience."
Before starting his current law firm, Godbey was a Justice Department lawyer and an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Hawaii, concentrating on white-collar and computer fraud, according to his law firm's Web site.
Bennett added in the release that he had prior dealing with the new special deputy when Godbey was chief special counsel to the state Senate's Special Investigative Committee, which looked into state procurement practices in 1993.
"I was counsel for some of the witnesses and was greatly impressed by Mr. Godbey's skill, integrity, diligence and fairness," Bennett added.
Godbey is expected to start work on the civil side of the Ka Loko investigation when he returns from a mainland conference as part of the federal 9th Circuit next week.