In the Matter of Robert David Goner, an attorney and counselor-at-law. Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial District, petitioner; Robert David Goner, respondent. Attorney Registration No. 2556512
PROCEEDING instituted by the Grievance Committee for the
Tenth Judicial District. The respondent was admitted to the
Bar at a term of the Supreme Court in the Appellate Division,
Second Judicial Department, on June 30, 1993.
Catherine A. Sheridan, Hauppauge, NY (Michele Filosa of
counsel), for petitioner.
McDonough & McDonough, LLP, Garden City, NY (Chris
McDonough of counsel), for respondent.
RANDALL T. ENG, P.J., WILLIAM F. MASTRO, REINALDO E. RIVERA,
MARK C. DILLON, ROBERT J. MILLER, JJ.
OPINION & ORDER
affirmation dated January 7, 2016, on notice to the
respondent, the Grievance Committee for the Tenth Judicial
District advised the Court that on July 20, 2015, the
respondent pleaded guilty in the Supreme Court, Nassau
County, to one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a
class A misdemeanor, under Penal Law § 260.10(1). By
decision and order on motion dated June 15, 2016, this Court
determined that the respondent's conviction was a serious
crime within the meaning of former 22 NYCRR 691.7(b), but
vacated the suspension resulting therefrom pursuant to
Judiciary Law § 90(4)(f). In the same order, this Court
authorized the Grievance Committee to institute and prosecute
a disciplinary proceeding against the respondent based upon
his conviction of a serious crime, and referred the issues
raised by the petition and any answer thereto to Norma
Giffords, as Special Referee, to hear and report.
respondent was served with a notice of petition dated July 8,
2016, and a verified petition dated July 7, 2016. The
petition was later amended to reflect the fact that the
respondent pleaded guilty in the County Court, Nassau County,
not the Supreme Court, Nassau County. After a hearing held on
May 11, 2017, the Special Referee filed a report which
sustained the single charge of the amended petition. The
petitioner now moves for an order confirming the report of
the Special Referee, and imposing such discipline upon the
respondent as the Court deems appropriate. The respondent, by
counsel, has submitted an affirmation in response in which he
joins in the petitioner's motion to confirm, and requests
the Court to conclude this matter by issuing a private
reprimand, or a sanction no greater than a public censure.
charge alleges that the respondent engaged in illegal conduct
that adversely reflects on his honesty, trustworthiness, or
fitness as a lawyer, in violation of rule 8.4(b) of the Rules
of Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0), by virtue of his
conviction, as follows: On July 20, 2015, the respondent
pleaded guilty in the County Court, Nassau County, to one
count of endangering the welfare of a child, a class A
misdemeanor, under Penal Law § 260.10(1). On September
14, 2015, the respondent was sentenced to a three-year term
of probation with domestic violence conditions and alcohol
therapy as a condition of probation. Additionally, the County
Court issued orders of protection directing the respondent to
stay away from his daughters and his wife while under the
influence of alcohol, and otherwise refrain from assaulting,
stalking, or committing any other criminal offense against
them, for a period of five years. The respondent was also
required to pay a mandatory surcharge of $175, a crime
victims' assistance fee of $25, and a DNA fee of $50.
that the Special Referee properly sustained the charge, as
the evidence adduced established that the respondent engaged
in conduct in violation of rule 8.4(b) of the Rules of
Professional Conduct (22 NYCRR 1200.0). Accordingly, the
Grievance Committee's motion to confirm the Special
Referee's report is granted.
determining an appropriate measure of discipline to impose,
the respondent's counsel contends that the
respondent's actions leading to his arrest and conviction
were the result of his alcohol abuse, and that he has made
efforts to successfully address his problem. This Court has
considered, in mitigation, the fact that the respondent's
conduct did not involve violence, the respondent's
rehabilitative efforts, his completion of a group counseling
program for domestic violence, and the affirmations attesting
to his integrity and strong moral character. However, the
respondent's counsel's opposition notwithstanding,
the Court has also taken into consideration, as an
aggravating factor, a Letter of Caution issued in connection
with his conviction, on February 2, 2015, of driving while
intoxicated in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law §
1192.3, an unclassified misdemeanor.
the totality of the circumstances, the respondent is publicly
censured (see Matter of McGrane, 111 A.D.3d 1;
Matter of Kert, 88 A.D.3d 280).
P.J., MASTRO, RIVERA, DILLON, and MILLER, JJ., concur.
that the petitioner's motion to confirm the report of the
Special Referee is granted; and it is further, ORDERED that
the respondent, Robert David Goner, is ...