Palm Beach County Wrongful Death Lawsuit Blames Sheriff’s Office for Teen Informant’s Murder

The family of Maciel Videla is suing the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for his Florida wrongful death. The 17-year-old boy was brutally murdered by drug dealers who thought that the teenager had ratted them out to the authorities after he introduced them to an undercover deputy. The authorities had quickly released Videla after arresting him on unrelated burglary charges.

In their Palm beach wrongful death complaint, the family says that the Sheriff’s Office should have protected Videla, who was killed in December 2008. They claim that Joaquin Fonseca, the undercover cop, knew that the drug dealers were planning on dealing with the teen but did not tell his superiors until it was too late. Fonseca has said in a deposition about the murder that he “didn’t have the opportunity” to notify his bosses.

Meantime, the lawyer representing Sheriff Ric Bradshaw in the Palm Beach wrongful death case is saying that the agency was not obligated to protect Videla and that Fonseca had no way of knowing that the drug dealers were planning on slitting the teen’s throat. It wasn’t until last year, several month’s after his murder, that Florida passed Rachel’s Law.

Named after 23-year-old Rachel Hoffman, Rachel’s Law requires that police departments train officers on how to properly recruit confidential informants while apprising the latter of their rights should they accept the position. Hoffman, 23, was fatally shot during a botched drug sting in 2008. Police recruited her to be an informant after she was caught with pills that hadn’t been prescribed to her and marijuana.

A party doesn’t have to have been directly responsible for your loved one’s death in order to be named a defendant of your Palm Beach wrongful death lawsuit. Sometimes, negligence on the part of an entity or another person can contribute to allowing or causing a death to happen. This also can be grounds for seeking damages.

Mother of murdered confidential informant sues Sheriff’s Office, Sun-Sentinel, December 8, 2010
Gov. Charlie Crist signs ‘Rachel’s Law’ protecting police informants, Tampa Bay, May 7, 2009

Related Web Resources:
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office

Wrongful Death Claims, Nolo