Wrongful Incarcerations

Hilliard Martinez Gonzales, LLP is committed to fighting for issues of social justice on behalf of the most vulnerable members of our society. At HMG, this commitment to give a voice to the voiceless is a passion that drives the success of our law firm.

Freeing the Innocent from Prison

Koua Fong Lee

Bob Hilliard represented Koua Fong Lee, a Hmong immigrant wrongfully convicted of vehicular homicide in 2006 after his 1996 Toyota Camry experienced sudden unintended acceleration and caused a car accident where three people were killed and two more suffered serious injuries.

Mr. Lee served two and a half years of an eight-year prison sentence before Hilliard gained his release by proving that the accident was in fact caused by Toyota's design defect. Hilliard went on to win an $11.4 million jury verdict in a subsequent civil suit, the largest of its kind against Toyota for unintended acceleration.

Lakisha Ward-Green

On September 3, 2010, Lakisha Ward-Green, of Penn Hills, PA, picked up Robert Chambers, age 16, from school, aboard her 2007 Chevy Cobalt. Lakisha was in a hurry that day, also needing to pick up her mother. She drove at some 40 miles over the speed limit.

Lakisha lost control of her vehicle as another car pulled out in front of her. She swerved to avoid another car, applied the brakes, and slid along the right side of the road down an embankment, ultimately crashing into a utility pole. The airbags never deployed. Robert was killed in the accident. Lakisha pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving. She spent 121 days in jail.

An investigation into the vehicle's black box revealed that shortly before the accident the Chevy Cobalt's ignition switch had slipped from the "Run" position to "Accessory." This finding proved that the true cause of the accident and of Robert's death was GM's lethally defective ignition switch.

Candice Anderson

General Motors knew that the defective ignition switch in Candice Anderson's 2004 Ion caused the accident that killed her boyfriend, Mikale Erickson and severely injured Candice. The company watched silently as Candice, still recovering from her life-threatening injuries, was indicted and prosecuted criminally negligent homicide.

Candice believed she was at fault and pled guilty, spending years wracked by guilt about Mikal's death. Then the National Highway Safety Administration confirmed that the accident was caused by the Ion's ignition locking in "Accessory" position, which caused the brakes and steering fail. Candice was innocent of her loved one's death.

Bob Hilliard brought a civil case against GM for their cynical, cruel willingness to let Ms. Anderson take the blame. Hilliard said, "Mike Erickson died because of GM. His young daughters lost a dad, his mom lost her only son and Candice lost the love of her life."

A Texas judge cleared Candice Anderson of all blame for accident.

WE STAND UP FOR THE INNOCENT

Our firm has earned a national reputation for taking wrongful conviction cases that other lawyers refuse as too difficult or politically sensitive. If you or someone you know is innocent of the crime for which they are accused or convicted, we are here to help you seek justice.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

Please call for an initial consultation, which is free of charge. If we take your case, we will work on a Contingent Fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if we win a monetary award or recovery of funds for you.

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