In a shocking development out of Texas, a North Texas teenager from a rich family who is responsible for the death of four pedestrians while driving drunk has avoid prison and will instead be sent to a high-end rehabilitation clinic.
The story has outraged many in the Lone Star state who claim that the judge’s decision to give 16-year-old Ethan Couch 10 years of probation for the fatal accident is a travesty to the Texas justice system. The maximum sentence could have been up to 20 years in prison. He instead will service his time in a $450,000-a-year rehabilitation center near Newport Beach, California. He has also been identified publicly, even though he is a juvenile.
Court argues Ethan Couch suffering from affluenza
The defense legal team, with the help of a psychologist, argued that the juvenile was suffering from what they termed “affluenza,” although this condition is not recognized by the medical community as a valid medical diagnosis and should in no way justify bad behavior.
What is affluenza? According to Dr. Gary Buffone, a Jacksonville, Fla., psychologist, “Affluenza has been described a condition in which children — generally from richer families — have a sense of entitlement, are irresponsible, make excuses for poor behavior, and sometimes dabble in drugs and alcohol.” No matter what they want to call it or how they dress it up scientifically, folks here in Texas like to call the defendant something much simpler- a spoiled brat.
Understandably, justified outrage has come from the families of the victims killed in the car crash, arguing that the judge has in effect only given this kid a slap on the wrist. It seems like this kid has been failed by every responsible person in his life, first his parents and then the justice system.
Ethan Couch admits his guilt
Ethan Couch did admit he was guilty in four cases of intoxication manslaughter in the June accident. The court made its decision after hearing from a variety of witnesses including investigators, experts and other victims.
What should concern us as much as this ridiculous sentence, however, is this is probably not the last we will hear about this young man. Unless Ethan Couch has had a wake-up call, it’s likely he will continue to be shielded from consequences of his actions by his family’s wealth and within ten years we could expect another tragedy.
Whether it’s rich and spoiled or poor and neglected, bad parenting and the subsequent choices made by children should not ameliorate the punishment. Yes, Ethan Couch is a juvenile and sixteen years old is young.
No one is saying he should spend 20 years in a prison with adults, but it’s not clear how living in a half million dollar “rehabilitation” center will teach Ethan what he should have learned by the time he was eight- don’t drink and drive. Maybe a few months (or years) in a juvenile detention center without a private bathroom, television, video games and friends might have done him some good AND potentially saved more lives.
Latest posts by Beth (see all)
- California DUI penalties for minors arrested for DUI? - May 6, 2017
- California DUI with minor in the car. What will happen? - April 30, 2017
- Delaware DUI what do I need to know? - April 23, 2017