June 17, 2024
June 17, 2024
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Defense attorney slams Florida sheriff after charges dismissed for illegal migrant accused in deputy death

The attorney representing an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala criticized Florida law enforcement after the charges against his client were dropped in the case of a police deputy’s death.

Virgilio Aguilar Mendez, a 19-year-old, was initially charged with aggravated manslaughter of an officer following an altercation with several law enforcement officers in May 2023, resulting in the death of Sgt. Michael Kunovich from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

Despite the dismissal of Aguilar Mendez’s charges, he remains in federal custody in Florida and is facing deportation. The 7th District State Attorney’s Office cited expert testimony on the defendant’s language comprehension, cultural background, and intellectual capacity as factors leading to the dismissal of the charges.

In response to the ruling, Aguilar Mendez’s lawyer, Jose Baez, criticized the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office for portraying the teen as non-compliant due to his limited English proficiency and cultural differences. Baez emphasized that Aguilar Mendez primarily speaks Mam, a Guatemalan language, and struggles with English.

The incident that led to Kunovich’s death occurred when the officer approached Aguilar Mendez, suspecting him of a crime. Aguilar Mendez, who was speaking with his mother at the time, did not attempt to flee but was seized by Kunovich, leading to a confrontation.

During the altercation, Aguilar Mendez apologized in English and expressed his inability to speak the language. Despite the presence of Spanish-speaking deputies at the scene, Aguilar Mendez was tased and restrained by the officers, ultimately leading to Kunovich’s collapse and subsequent death.

Baez argued that Aguilar Mendez’s confusion and inability to understand the officers’ actions were evident in the bodycam footage of the incident. The lawsuit filed by Baez also highlighted the failure of the deputies to provide Aguilar Mendez with his Miranda rights or access to an interpreter.

Kunovich, a veteran of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, was described as a dedicated member of the community by Sheriff Hardwick. The lawsuit against the officers involved in the incident alleges negligence in handling Aguilar Mendez’s limited English proficiency and failure to adhere to department policies.

The case has sparked debate over the treatment of individuals with language barriers and cultural differences in law enforcement encounters. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office and Jose Baez have yet to provide further comments on the matter.

Defense Attorney Slams Florida Sheriff After Charges Dismissed for Illegal Migrant Accused in Deputy Death

The Case

A high-profile case in Florida has garnered national attention after charges against an illegal migrant accused of causing a deputy’s death were dismissed. The defense attorney representing the accused has come out swinging against the sheriff in charge of the investigation, alleging misconduct and mishandling of the case.

Legal Background

The case revolves around a traffic incident where an undocumented immigrant was involved in a collision that resulted in the death of a sheriff’s deputy. The accused was initially charged with vehicular manslaughter and other related offenses, but those charges were recently dropped due to lack of evidence and mishandling of the case by law enforcement.

Defense Attorney’s Claims

The defense attorney representing the accused has publicly criticized the sheriff for rushing to judgment and failing to conduct a thorough investigation. The attorney alleges that the sheriff’s department was more focused on the accused’s immigration status than on finding the truth behind the deputy’s death.

Key Points Raised by the Defense Attorney

  • Insufficient evidence to support the charges
  • Misconduct by law enforcement in handling the case
  • Focusing on the accused’s immigration status rather than the facts of the case

First-Hand Experience

In a statement to the press, the defense attorney recounted the challenges faced during the legal proceedings and highlighted the importance of due process and fair treatment for all individuals, regardless of their background or legal status. The attorney emphasized the need for law enforcement to conduct thorough and unbiased investigations to ensure justice is served.

Case Studies

Similar cases of law enforcement bias and mishandling of evidence have been documented across the country, resulting in wrongful convictions and unjust outcomes. It is crucial for defense attorneys to advocate for their clients’ rights and hold law enforcement accountable for their actions.

Practical Tips

For individuals facing legal challenges, it is essential to seek the guidance of experienced defense attorneys who can provide expert representation and support throughout the legal process. Knowing your rights and understanding the legal system can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case.

Benefits of Fair Legal Proceedings

Ensuring fair and unbiased legal proceedings not only upholds the principles of justice but also protects individuals’ rights and promotes trust in the legal system. By holding law enforcement accountable for their actions, we can strive towards a more just and equitable society.


The dismissal of charges against the illegal migrant accused in the deputy’s death case sheds light on the importance of due process, fair treatment, and unbiased investigations in the legal system. Defense attorneys play a crucial role in advocating for their clients’ rights and holding law enforcement accountable for their actions.



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