CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (June 24, 2014) Press Release
Yesterday, Texas lawyer Bob Hilliard, one of the nation's key players in pursuing claims against General Motors for deaths and injuries caused by faulty ignition switches, asked GM's CEO, Mary Barra to join in his effort to seek a Pardon from Texas Governor Rick Perry on behalf of wrongly convicted GM victim, Candice Anderson. Mr. Hilliard asked Ms. Barra to provide a letter of recommendation to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles who will then make its recommendation to the Governor's office.
Almost ten years ago Candice Anderson lost control of her 2004 Saturn ION while driving down a county road in East Texas. Candice's fiancÃ©, Gene Mikale Erickson was her passenger that day and died when their vehicle left the roadway and collided, head-on, into a nearby grove of trees. Both Candice and Mikalea's airbags failed to deploy due to the sub-standard ignition switch GM knowingly installed in millions of vehicles across the country. GM counts Mikalea's death as one of the 13 confirmed fatalities linked to the faulty ignition switch.
NHTSA CONFIRMS GM DEFECT
In response to a recent request from Mikale Erickson's mom, Rhonda, NHTSA's Chief Counsel O. Kevin Vincent stated: "We understand that GM counts Mr. Erickson's death in its list of thirteen deaths."
FALSELY ACCUSED, TORTURED BY GUILT
At the time of the accident, GM knew of the faulty ignition, but kept that knowledge locked in the filing cabinets of its legal department and silently stood by, as Candice plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide, a state felony offense. The guilt of the accident has weighed heavy on Candice for nearly 10 years and the felony she has carried on her record remains a dark shadow at every turn in her life.
BARRA REMAINS SILENT TO HILLIARD'S REQUEST
Candice Anderson's attorney, Bob Hilliard sent an email to GM's counsel, asking that Mary Barra join him in an effort to obtain a pardon for Ms. Anderson by signing a letter of recommendation. In part the proposed Barra letter states,"We at GM have been aware of the issues involving these vehicles for quite some time. As the CEO of New GM, I feel it is my responsibility to right any wrongs that occurred as a result of these faulty ignition switches." Ms. Barra has not responded nor has she signed the letter.
GM'S ATTORNEYS RESPOND
Though Mary Barra remains silent her attorneys replied to Hilliard. "You should not make any representation that GM has assented or agreed to your request."
HILLIARD'S COMMENTS REGARDING THE REQUEST
GM's attorneys, many of whom got them in this quicksand in the first place once again throw another victim "under the Cobalt". Their response is as predictable as it is disappointing. Even though Ms. Barra has gone out of her way to assure the world generally, and GM victims specifically, that she is intent on doing the right thing, she remains silent. Ms. Barra wants to be known as the CEO of Change. She has stated: "I realize there are no words of mine that can ease their grief and pain. But as I lead GM through this crisis, I want everyone to know that I am guided by two clear principles: First, that we do the right thing for those who were harmed; and, second, that we accept responsibility for our mistakes and commit to doing everything within our power to prevent this problem from ever happening again.Whatever mistakes were made in the past, we will not shirk from our responsibilities now or in the future. Today's GM will do the right thing, that begins with my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall, especially the friends and families who lost their lives or were injured. I am deeply sorry."
Well, Ms. Barra, this is your moment. Not just as a CEO but as a human being. Step up. Show the courage and conviction of your words and at the same time help right this wrong, and lift this terrible cloud from a young woman's life. If you honestly want to do the right thing there is only one clear choice. Are you going to listen to your attorneys or are you going to listen to your conscious? If you remain silent and do not act we all know the truth we feared: GM has not changed and you are not willing to insist that it change. That truth will be just as difficult for you to live with as this wrongful conviction is for Candice to live with.