In the Matter of Medical Incapacity Proceedings Against Godfrey Y. Muwonge, Attorney at Law:
Godfrey Y. Muwonge, Respondent-Appellant. Office of Lawyer Regulation, Complainant-Respondent,
disciplinary proceeding. Conditions imposed.
We review the report and recommendation of Referee Dennis J.
Flynn approving a stipulation filed by the Office of Lawyer
Regulation (OLR) and Attorney Godfrey Y. Muwonge. Attorney
Muwonge stipulated to the facts underlying 43 counts of
misconduct as alleged in the OLR's amended complaint, and
Attorney Muwonge and the OLR jointly recommend certain
conditions and restitution as discipline for the admitted
misconduct. The referee determined there was an adequate
factual basis to establish the alleged misconduct and
concluded that the parties' joint recommendation for
discipline was appropriate.
Upon careful review of this matter, we uphold the
referee's findings of fact and conclusions of law, as
derived from the parties' stipulation, and agree that
imposition of conditions and restitution are sufficient
discipline for Attorney Muwonge's misconduct. We impose
the full costs of this proceeding on Attorney Muwonge, which
are $2, 053.07, as of November 21, 2016.
This is an unusual disciplinary proceeding. It commenced in
2007 but was held in abeyance because Attorney Muwonge was
deemed to have a medical incapacity. That medical incapacity
has been removed so the disciplinary proceeding can proceed.
Attorney Muwonge was admitted to practice law in Wisconsin in
1997, and practiced immigration law in the Milwaukee area.
In April 2007, the OLR filed a disciplinary complaint against
Attorney Muwonge alleging 43 counts of misconduct and seeking
revocation of Attorney Muwonge's law license.
On September 29, 2008, the OLR and Attorney Muwonge
stipulated that Attorney Muwonge had a medical incapacity and
that, because of the medical incapacity, Attorney Muwonge
could not successfully defend against the allegations of
professional misconduct. On October 22, 2008, a referee
agreed, recommending, consistent with this court's rules,
that we suspend Attorney Muwonge's law license
indefinitely, pursuant to SCR 22.16(4), and that we hold the
pending disciplinary proceeding in abeyance. On December 23,
2008, we issued an order adopting the referee's findings
and conclusions; the 2007 disciplinary proceeding was held in
abeyance. In re Medical Incapacity Proceedings Against
Muwonge, No. 2007AP776, unpublished order ( S.Ct. Dec.
In the following years, Attorney Muwonge successfully sought
and obtained treatment for his mental health and substance
In June 2015, Attorney Muwonge sought reinstatement of his
license to practice law, asserting that his medical
incapacity had been removed. An extensive evidentiary
proceeding ensued. The referee agreed, and ultimately this
court concluded that Attorney Muwonge had demonstrated by
clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence that he is no
longer medically incapacitated and that he is fit to practice
law. In re Medical Incapacity Proceedings Against
Muwonge, 2016 WI 55, 369 Wis.2d 658, 881 N.W.2d 25. On
July 1, 2016, we reinstated Attorney Muwonge's law
license subject to a number of stringent conditions designed
to monitor his continued fitness to practice law and to
ensure protection of the public. Id.
Upon reinstating Attorney Muwonge's law license, we also
issued an order pertaining to the underlying 2007
disciplinary proceeding that had been held in abeyance during
his period of medical incapacity. See SCR
22.16(4)(d) ("[u]pon reinstatement, the court shall
direct the referee to proceed with the misconduct
action.") We directed the referee and the parties to
proceed with the 2007 disciplinary proceeding.
The parties executed a stipulation that the referee has
accepted. Our task now is to review the referee's
recommendation regarding the 2007 disciplinary proceeding.
The misconduct alleged in the 2007 disciplinary proceeding is
serious. The amended complaint alleged 43 counts of
professional misconduct involving 15 clients, primarily in
immigration cases. It reflects a pattern of failure to pursue
client matters, failure to respond to client inquiries,
failure to communicate with clients, failure to keep clients
informed, failure to refund retainers or costs that were not
expended, and failure to return client files. For example,
Attorney Muwonge was retained to help A&W Iron Metal,
Inc. (A&W) obtain permanent resident status for certain
employees. Attorney Muwonge failed to meet with the clients
to address their questions, failed to return filed documents,
and "[n]one of the workers received permanent
status." Individual clients were also harmed when
Attorney Muwonge failed to appear at hearings or to complete
work he had undertaken for them.
All told, the OLR alleged and Attorney Muwonge has stipulated
that he violated the following supreme court rules:
• Former SCR 20:1.4(a) as alleged in counts one (L.C.
and J.C.), four (A.L.), seven (A.B.), ten (N.R.), sixteen
(P.K. and K.P.), nineteen (A&W), twenty-three (A.K.),
twenty-five (L.P.), twenty-eight (W.W.), thirty (M.O. and
K.O.), thirty-two (G.B.), thirty-five (P.M.), thirty-nine
(M.B.), and forty-one (A.D. and S.D.).
• SCR 20:1.4(b) as alleged in count thirty-three (G.B.).
• Former SCR 20:1.16(d) as alleged in counts two (L.C.
and J.C.), five (A.L.), eight (A.B.), twelve (N.R.), fourteen
(S.M.), seventeen (P.K. and K.P.), twenty (A&W),
twenty-one (A&W), twenty-six (L.P.), thirty-four (G.B.),
thirty-six (P.M.), forty-two (A.D. and S.D.), and forty-three
(A.D. and S.D.).
• SCR 20.1.3 as alleged in counts three (A.L. and
H.N.), six (A.B.), nine (A.B.), fifteen (P.K.), eighteen
(A&W), twenty-two (A.K.), twenty-four (L.P.),
twenty-seven (W.W.), twenty-nine (M.O.), thirty-one ...