Judge Reverses Manslaughter Conviction Due To Faulty Ignition Switch7
A Pennsylvania judge determined Wednesday that a woman once convicted of involuntary manslaughter will now likely walk free due to evidence that a faulty GM ignition switch was at fault.
The driver plead guilty to manslaughter and reckless driving in 2012 after she crashed her 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt into the back of a school bus, killing her boyfriend in the passenger seat. He was not wearing a seatbelt.
A look at the vehicle’s data recorder determined she was driving 75 mph in a 35 mph zone just moments before the crash took place.
She served three months of a 1-2 year jail sentence before her attorneys appealed the conviction on the basis GM’s defective ignition switch was to blame for the accident, which eventually led to the court reversal on Wednesday.
The county judge reversed the conviction after hearing from the driver’s attorney who provided expert testimony and GM recall records to help further his claims, according to The Detroit Free Press.
There is also a chance the Pennsylvania district attorney’s office could still decide to retry .
Both the driver and the family of her deceased boyfriend have received money from the GM compensation fund.
The GM compensation fund doesn’t take account for contributory negligence, which is anything the drivers or accident victims might have done to contribute to the crashes in which the ignition switches failed. The attorney argued his client bore “no responsibility for the accident,” in spite of the fact authorities determine she was traveling nearly 40 mph over the speed limit.
“I’m aggravated with GM because had they issued the recall when they were supposed, her criminal defense lawyer would have known about it, and he likely wouldn’t have advised her to plead guilty,” the Freep quoted the attorney as saying.
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Did anyone point out to the judge the car still steers and the power brakes still work enough to turn and stop the car even if the key is turned to the off position.
The brakes working is why she scrubbed off as much speed as she did.
As far as I am concerned GM owes nothing here as he did not have a belt on either. That would have saved his life not the air bag. Air bags are secondary safety as they are useless unless a belt is used..
The defense lawyer’s name is Bob Hilliard. The same guy that is leading the charge in the class action lawsuit against GM for the ignition fiasco.
GM has payed out millions thru the compensation fund to families of drivers that played a significant part in “contributory negligence” in this matter.
GM just wanted out. The time in court fighting about who had more fault in the death would have easily outweighed the settlement they got. GM is not the real victim, here. That distinction goes to society; better still, to the distance we have all slid from responsibility, decency, intelligence, fortitude, and so many other good qualities we previously all took for granted was in all of us.
I agree with you, Scott3, and I would not have awarded a single red cent. At some point we should stand up for the moral values we all claim to hold so valuable, regardless of what the lawyers and accountants say. But who among us would make such a call in the face of such cost? And more important, who among us would pay the extra purchase cost to support GM’s defense of what is good and proper?
Who could blame GM? They want this in the past so they can do what they are best at, making great vehicles. And Mackey, you are bang on about driver contributory negligence. What I do not understand is this line in the story:
“The attorney argued his client bore “no responsibility for the accident,” in spite of the fact authorities determine she was traveling nearly 40 mph over the speed limit.”
How can he say that?
I’d also like to know the name of the county judge in this case. Maybe write him a letter questioning his ability to serve on the bench. And who is this person “who provided expert testimony” ? It’s common knowledge that an air bag is a supplemental safety device to wearing a seat belt.
How in the world can somebody be absolved of a crime, when they were directly complicit in it happening in the first place?
Not sure how this defense attorney is able to sleep at night, either.
How? Activist judges.
How do lawyers sleep, pretty well.
Right or wrong matters little here.
Its all about halting significant risk of injury . gm tryed to pass off replacement part without telling people they needed that part..
It took a attorney to uncover a big problem with gm.
Nice to know that she really got away with murder, literally!
I have a Buick Regal, so if I run over someone important, I just blame GM for faulty ignition switch, brakes, and steering pump. And I walk free!