The Toyota Defense: Man Demands Review of Vehicular Homicide Sentence in Light of Recall

Koua Fong Lee may be the first man to bring a “Toyota Defense” — claiming that the recent recall supports his earlier defense claim that he was not responsible for vehicular homicide in 2006.

Lee is serving eight years due to the fatal crash involving his Toyota Camry. He has always maintained his innocence. He was driving home from Sunday services with his pregnant wife, father, daughter, brother and niece when he exited the highway in St. Paul, Minnesota. He insisted that he had his foot on the brake but the car was moving at between 70 and 90 mph when it struck two other vehicles. Javis Adams, 33, and his 10-year-old son, Javis Adams Jr., were killed instantly. Another passenger, 6-year-old Devyn Bolton, survived but was left a paraplegic.

Notably, two state witnesses testified that the brakes were working fine but this was before the findings that led to the recent massive recall.

One problem is that the 1996 Toyota Camry is not part of the recall. However, had the recall information been available, it might be produced reasonable doubt in the minds of the jury.

Notably, the family now supports Lee and wants to sue Toyota. There may be other such cases that are now subject to review in light of the recall.

For the full story, click here.

10 thoughts on “The Toyota Defense: Man Demands Review of Vehicular Homicide Sentence in Light of Recall”

  1. This whole situation is rapidly becoming a dark comedy. Clearly, the manufacturers have no idea what is going wrong and it seems the only thing that will get them going is a few million dollar court judgments. This man should be released immediately, he has already served time and there is certainly now reasonable doubt regarding his innocence. This is also a point in favor of the “greedy trial lawyers” in opposition to the greedy corporate executives that must be forced by court judgments to admit wrongdoing.

  2. The young girl, Devyn Bolton, who was left a quadriplegic after the accident, died in 2007.

    From the same linked article:
    “Fong Lee told police his brakes malfunctioned on the off-ramp. Prosecutors said he accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake.”

    If prosecutors said “he accidentally hit the accelerator instead of the brake”, how was he convicted of vehicular homicide?

    I would also like to know what “vehicular homicide resulting in great bodily harm” is. Isn’t death about as far as you can go when it comes to great bodily harm?

    This whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.

  3. Excellent.

    I’ll bbl to comment, but thanks Prof. And thanks to Byron for the assist.

  4. Bring from Southern California, I have been following this case closely. One of the major incidences happened with an off duty officer down in San Diego. Should be interesting to see how this one plays out, thanks for sharing this post!

  5. Back in 1972 a friend bought the cheapest, full-sized, new car she could find which was a ’72 Toyota for a little less than $2000, which was the going rate at that time. The thing rusted out in 2 1/2 years and she was stuck without a car still owing 6 months on her loan. Needless to say, I never bought one.

  6. And now General Motors can also be added to the list,although nothing seems to have surfaced with the consequences suffered in the Toyota case.

    ‘GM recalling 1.3 million vehicles over steering problems

    … Tue Mar 2, 1:29 am ET
    DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co is recalling 1.3 million compact cars in North America to address a power steering problem that has been linked to 14 crashes and one injury, the company said on Tuesday.

    U.S. safety regulators opened an investigation on January 27 into approximately 905,000 Cobalt models in the United States after receiving more than 1,100 complaints of power steering failures. The complaints included 14 crashes and one injury.

    The recall covers the 2005-2010 model year Chevrolet Cobalt and 2007-2010 Pontiac G5 in the United States; 2005-2006 Pontiac Pursuit sold in Canada, and the 2005-2006 Pontiac G4 sold in Mexico, GM said in a statement.

    GM said it told the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the voluntary recall on Monday after concluding its own investigation that began in 2009.;_ylt=AkMlgI5WhXwK5S3E8T370Uis0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTNjMTg1dDQzBGFzc2V0A25tLzIwMTAwMzAyL3VzX2dtX3JlY2FsbARjY29kZQNtb3N0cG9wdWxhcgRjcG9zAzEEcG9zAzIEcHQDaG9tZV9jb2tlBHNlYwN5bl90b3Bfc3RvcnkEc2xrA2dtcmVjYWxsaW5nM

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