Skip to comments.ffluent drunk driving teen who killed 4 sentenced to probation on 'affluenza' defense
Posted on 12/12/2013 4:22:04 AM PST by Wolfie
Affluent drunk driving teen who killed 4 sentenced to probation on 'affluenza' defense
A Texas teen was sentenced to just 10 years of probation and forced to enter alcohol rehabilitation for killing four people and injuring two others when he crashed his car into them while inebriated.
Ethan Couch, 16, had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.24 when he crashed into four people who had pulled over to assist a stranded driver on June 15. Couchs BAC was three times the legal limit for an adult over the age of 21. Prosecutors said Couch and his friends had stolen beer from a Walmart located near the site of the accident outside the Dallas/Fort Worth area.
All four of the pedestrians were killed: the driver of the stranded vehicle, a mother and daughter who stopped to help, and a youth minister who did the same. Couchs two 15-year-old friends were ejected from his vehicle in the crash. Solimon Mohman suffered a number of broken bones and internal injuries, while Sergio Molina can now only communicate with his eyes because he was paralyzed in the accident.
Couch admitted to drunk driving at the time, with seven passengers in his vehicle, and tests later revealed traces of Valium in his system.
Prosecutors asked State District Judge Jean Boyd to impose a 20-year sentence. Yet, despite the severity of Couchs crime, Boyd handed down a sentence of just 10 years probation and mandated that the 16-year-old receive therapy at a long-term, inpatient facility near Newport Beach, California.
Defense attorneys pressed for such a sentence and told the court that Couchs family would be willing to pay the estimated $450,000 for his therapy out-of-pocket. They blamed Couchs actions on his upbringing, with a psychologist testifying that Couchs parents used him as a weapon against each other and that the teens emotional age was close to 12.
The teen never learned to say that youre sorry if you hurt someone, psychologist Gary Miller said. If you hurt someone you sent him money.
Miller said Couchs parents gave him freedoms no young person should have," raised in an environment of privilege that afforded him no understanding of actions and their consequences. The psychologist ultimately branded Couch a product of affluenza.
The perception that money has contributed to the cases resolution has much of the surrounding community outraged. Families of the victims spoke in court and, while many admitted they have forgiven Couch, they said that justice had not been served. Prosecutor Richard Alpert said he was disappointed in Boyds decision and that there can be no doubt that he will be in another courthouse one day blaming the lenient treatment here.
Eric Boyles lost his wife in the crash earlier this year. He told the Star-Telegram that even though the families knew a harsh sentence wouldnt bring back their loved ones, the disappointment was palpable.
I’m going to predict two things right now. 1) He isn’t going to stop drinking, and 2) These four are not the only people he will wind up killing.
If the parents were responsible for all the carnage by turning this irresponsible failure on society and providing him a car, they should be locked up for the 20 year sentence, and of course, every dime they have should be given to the victims’ families.
And State District Judge Boyd should be barred from the bench. She obviously is not capable of rendering justice. A jury would never have rendered such a verdict in TX. Greg Abbott, TX Atty. Gen,, should check her bank records to see if this outrageous miscarriage of justice was purchased.
Affluenza Disease — Now I’ve heard it all.
Isn’t the judge exacerbating the kid’s disease with his ruling???
In psycho terms, it is called 'enabling!' Like that judge up in Montana who 'sentenced' a 54 yo teacher to 30 days in jail for raping his 14 yo student, this is not really punishment but instead a slap-on-the-wrists!
Somewhere in California?
No curiosity over the neighborhood?
Things like this happen every day in 3rd World countries where a person can be too wealthy to go to jail. In those countries, judges are simply paid off by the wealthy, but that could never happen in this country, now could it?
The reason for this is that much of their funding comes from teaching the classes drunks have to take to get their driving privleges back.
Twice I got checks from MADD for $2.50 with envelopes that said “check enclosed”, the ltr asked me to send the check back to them with more money. Both times I cashed them at a bar and endorsed the check with, “Thanks for the drink”.
The US judicial system thereby proved itself to be a whore.
How many bank execs and pols involved in the 2008 financial crisis went to jail?
The psychologist has interesting sentences. It is not that “he” has never learned to be sorry, it was “you” have never learned to be sorry. And what agency just got a $450,000. endowment through a new patient. The sentence should be appeal. “Affluenza” my butt.
what the folk does is parents’ income have to do with his criminal recklessness?
Listen, all you who want to throw away the key, the fact that he was blotto negates intent. Negligent homicide is about all you get. Since he was affluent, he probably had lots of insurance, unlike the minimally insured drunk.
Yes, it is a tragedy all the way around. But putting a 16 year old high school student in a prison population of people who committed intentional crimes is not legal or right. Just the way it is.
Precisely. And they have already conveniently made the case for that.
5-10 years in prison would give him an excellent understanding of how his actions have consequences.
I think Judges have a “there but for the Grace of God go I” mentality when it comes to drunk driving. Especially if the defendant is of the same socio-economic class.
“judges are simply paid off by the wealthy, but that could never happen in this country, now could it?”
Of course not. Here, the lawyers get a cut first.
Just charge a high price and split with the judge over drinks.
I’ve never known a wealthy person who did time for anything. And I’ve known plenty that should have.
The law has become a tool of oppression, not enforcement.
The judge needs to be impeached and removed and jailed for this miscarriage of justice.
Tarrant County, Texas (Fort Worth/Arlington area).
This sentence just makes me mad. Young, rich, stupid, and drunk . and mommy and daddy make it all possible.
you are incorrect. Being drunk or high on drugs is not a mitigating factor . because an ordinary person would anticipate an accident even one causing death if some one is drunk and gets behind the wheel of a car.
You are either just dimd or you spent too many years defending criminals
The judge is blaming the parents.
So — if I”m the families of the victims I sue the parents and cite the judge’s ruling as evidence.
“The psychologist ultimately branded Couch a product of affluenza.
If they were poor, it would be called what it is. Bad parenting.
Unfortunately she has been elected in my county and was most likely unopposed. In the next election I'm betting she is apposed and defeated.
I would expect mega civil suits to follow. Lawyers everywhere.
Bet he wears a neck brace whenever out near media....
So, now being rich and spoiled is a handicap?
If he had killed a member of my family this would be the outcome I’d want.
Justice would be served.
It negates intent
different from a mitigating factor
and I do not defend criminals
but I did take criminal law
I do family law trying to keep these dimwits from imploding their families due to lust
I’m sure part of the reason the sentence is what it is has to do with the huge amounts all the injured received from the insurance company
do we let murderers go because of life insurance?
They are sending him out of state to prevent others from exacting vengeance on him.
The purpose of the courts is to provide justice. When they fail to do so, vigilantism results. If this young man was found brutally murdered, with the suspected murderer being related to his victims, would a jury of his peers convict him?
And you thought the “Twinkie Defense” was ridiculous.
I go crazy ‘cause my folks are so f’ing rich
Have to score when I get that rich white punk itch
Sounds real classy, living in a chateau
So lonely, all the other kids will never know
We’re white punks on dope
Mom & Dad live in Hollywood
Hang myself when I get enough rope
Can’t clean up, though I know I should
White punks on dope
White punks on dope
Imagine what an affluent twinkie eater could get away with.
I think this sort of thing all boils down to a judge sitting across from a defendant who looks very much like them or their loved ones, and from the same type of background, and saying “eh, he’s not such a bad kid”.
I think somebody paid the bitch of a judge off.
And how conveeeeenient that she’s retiring.
Yeah with all of that cash she’s just come into from is parents, she’s going to have a real nice vacation.
One can almost guarantee that an unmarked envelope stuffed with hard cash was handed to this Judge through a willing intermediary.
Poor and white; otherwise it would be society's fault.
So, he killed 4 people and no jail time...I think he’s earned a bounty.
BS. He chose to get behind the wheel with a belly full of beer.
This sort of corruption makes people that much more inclined to listen to "eat the rich" socialist rhetoric.
The best justice money can buy.
The young part will change over time. I have no faith in him ever not being stupid, not being rich, and not being a drunk.
The 'injured' received nothing. They're dead. Four of them. Any one of which was probably a greater loss to society than this slobbering drunk would have been.
What language is he ffluent in?
Money talks in all languages.
We can only hope he violates his probation before the latter prediction comes true...
Yup. The only silver lining in this "affluenza" sentence, is that the judge's finding may make it easier to go after the parents in a civil suit. The cure for this kid's "affluenza" just may be bankrupting his parents.
A gentleman that used to be our janitor had his daughter killed by a rich drunk driver. That driver got off, even though he hit the child in the gentleman's front yard.
The gentleman was an undertaker. He visited the young drunk at the hospital, where the nurse left him alone with a scalpel for a few minutes. The drunk had a “Joker” smile as a result, and the gentleman served ten years in prison.
The drunk later killed more people when he pancaked his new sports car into an over pass on I35. The gentleman was released, and now is a prison minister.
We have a legal system, not a justice system.