‘Affluenza’ — Rich Teen Ethan Couch Kills Four in Drunk Driving Crash, Uses Family Wealth as Defense to Avoid Jail Time
There are a lot of people in America who might say we have two justice systems -- one for the wealthy, and one for the rest of us. This story may prove them right after a 16-year-old avoids jail time for killing four people by claiming he was too rich to know better.
Wait, that's insane, right? Well, not according to a Texas judge in Fort Worth, who this week accepted the argument of a defense attorney who said that 16 year old Ethan Couch suffers from "Affluenza." It's a made-up word that basically means that Couch grew up too rich to understand that bad behavior has consequences.
What happened? This past July, Couch got drunk (blowing a 0.24 -- three times the legal intoxication limit for an adult) and took Valium and got into a car crash that killed four people and seriously injured two.
Youth pastor Brian Jennings; mother and daughter Hollie and Shelby Boyles; and 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell died in the June 15 accident. -- WFAA.com
It's not the first time Couch as caused trouble. According to WFAA.com in Forth Worth, Couch had previously been caught with a naked, passed-out 14-year-old girl and had suffered no consequences.
This led Couch's defense attorney to argue that the boy had grown up in a situation where his parents had more or less bought his way out of trouble over the years, so he had never learned that there could be punishments for his actions. Judge Jean Boyd agreed and instead of serving the 20-year sentence prosecutors had asked for, Couch will instead be given 10 years of probation.
He'll also be forced to attend rehab -- though his parents will pay for him to stay at a $450,000 rehab center in California.
Prior to sentencing, a psychologist called by the defense, Dr. G. Dick Miller, testified that Couch's life could be salvaged with one to two years' treatment and no contact with his parents. -- WFAA.com