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Proving Innocence for Koua Fong Lee

We are lawyers because we want to see justice done. Overturning a wrongful conviction or getting an innocent person released from prison is exhilarating, emotionally rewarding and makes us proud of our profession.

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.

Bob Hilliard received the Never Forgotten Award from the Innocence Project of Minnesota for his work on the behalf of Mr. Lee. He was also named a finalist for the Public Justice Foundation Trial Lawyer of the Year award. The editorial board of his hometown newspaper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times wrote, “Hilliard served charity and justice by intervening. His actions reflect positively on his profession and its capacity for defending and protecting the innocent.”

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