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Lakisha Ward-Green Case in Pittsburgh: 16 year old Robert Chambers IV

Lakisha Ward-Green Case in Pittsburgh Guilty of Manslaughter

There is little doubt that technology has heavily influenced our lives. Over the past few decades our day-to-day activities have become so infiltrated by technological advancements that we rarely even notice such influences. The term “key” used to consistently apply to a small metal piece with teeth used to open doors and start cars. Today is could mean anything from a card that unlocks hotel and apartment doors to a fob that permits an engine to start simply by being with range of a car. Navigation required a paper map and someone with a decent sense of direction. Today anyone who can type can be led down the path provided by their chosen GPS system; for better or for worse. Cars themselves have been programmed to do everything from respond to a driver’s voice to parallel park. Cars programmed to perform tasks without the manual operations of a driver are a fantastic advancement in convenience when they operate correctly. When they operate incorrectly they can pose a danger to everyone involved.

Reckless Driving Appeal in Pittsburgh Case

In 2010 Lakisha Ward-Green was a 25-year-old living in the Pittsburgh area. On one particular trip she was the driver of 16-year-old Robert Chambers IV. Ward-Green was driving her 2007 Chevy Cobalt. As the pair made their way through Penn Hills the driver crashed into a bus and the passenger was killed on impact. A police investigation revealed that Ward-Green was driving the car at a speed of 75 mph in a 35 mph zone. In 2012 Ward-Green pled guilty to manslaughter and reckless driving and was sentenced to two years in jail. After serving two months in jail her attorneys appealed the conviction.

The Recall

As it would later come to be known, the car Ward-Green was operating was manufactured by General Motors. Last year GM recalled 2.6 million cars, just like the one operated by Ward-Green on her fateful trip through Penn Hills. The reason for the recall was cited as faulty ignition switches. In some instances the ignition switch would unexpectedly turn off causing the car to stall or disable the airbags. In other situations both the power steering and brakes could be shut off rendering the car inoperable. According to Ward-Green’s attorney, the car’s black box showed that she was driving 75 mph five seconds before the accident and 35 mph three seconds later. When she swerved to avoid a vehicle the ignition switch failed and she lost braking power, power steering, and her air bags. “I’m aggravated with GM because had they issued the recall when they were supposed to, her criminal defense lawyer would have known about it, and he likely wouldn’t have advised her to plead guilty,” Hilliard, her appellate attorney said.

The Lesson

Last week a Pennsylvania judge reversed the involuntary manslaughter conviction. The appellate process is our justice system’s safety net; it is our best way to ensure justice. Even where the trial process is diligently and fairly executed, new evidence can shed light on an old conviction. if you or a loved one has questions about how to file a criminal appeal contact our team at Brownstone Law today.

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