One of the attorneys for Koua Fong Lee says the St. Paul man may not be the only one facing life behind bars in connection with a crash involving suspected problems with Toyota cars.
Lee was freed Thursday after a judge said problems with his car should have been raised in a 2007 trial for a crash that killed three people.
Bob Hilliard is suing Toyota for that accident. He's representing the family that lost 33-year-old Javis Adams, his 9-year-old son Javis Jr., and 7-year-old Devyn Bolton in the crash.
He told Morning Edition's Cathy Wurzer that he knows of at least three other incidents that may involve what's now being called the "Toyota defense."
"I know there is at least one fellow in Oregon who's serving time whose lawyers have contacted me to take a look at his Toyota," Hilliard said. "He claimed that he was with his daughter in the middle of the day and it took off on him and there was a fatality. I know the prosecutor in Florida and perhaps California is considering charges and is reevaluating charges for two different individuals because they were driving Toyotas."
Hilliard said it has been difficult to make the case -- as Lee found during his two and a half years in prison. But the decision Thursday by Ramsey County District Court judge Joanne Smith may mark an important legal turning point.
The judge, though, didn't only address the issue of potential problems with Lee's 1996 Camry -- a car much older than Camrys recalled by Toyota earlier this year for sudden acceleration issues -- she also said she believed Lee's original attorney made mistakes during the trial, and offered the Hmong immigrant an ineffective defense.
Hilliard said Lee may have a case against his former attorney, as well as against Toyota.
But for now, he said, his client is simply glad to be free, rather than serving an eight year prison sentence.
"Right now I am sure he's asleep in his own bed for the first time in three years," Hilliard said.
(MPR's Cathy Wurzer contributed to this report.)