Product of affluenza or not, Ethan Couch, the sixteen year old Texas teen who admitted his guilt in four cases of intoxication manslaughter and two cases of intoxication assault, may still have to spend time behind bars. That is at least the goal of the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office who has asked a juvenile judge to incarcerate Ethan Couch.
Apparently, the previous court case in which the teen was sentenced to ten years probation only covered two of the cases. There are two more counts of intoxication assault in which there has not been a formal verdict entered, and according to District Attorney Joe Shannon said in a statement, “Every case deserves a verdict.”
Ethan Couch gets 10 years probation for killing four
Last week the state of Texas and the nation at large was shocked when Ethan Couch, a sixteen year old reported alcoholic, was sentenced to only 10 years probation after he caused a fatal accident that left four people dead and two others severely injured. When the accident occurred, Couch reportedly was driving 70 mph in a 40 mph zone.
After Couch’s arrest the police noted his BAC or blood alcohol concentration was 0.24% or three times the legal limit, which is 0.08%. He also had valium in his blood.
Although the prosecution had requested a maximum of twenty years in juvenile hall with two years probation following his release, they were shocked when the judge did not sentence Ethan Couch to any jail time and instead offered him 10 years probation and rehabilitation, in a swanky California rehabilitation center, paid for by his parents.
Critics of the sentencing called foul and argued such a light sentence sent the wrong message to teens throughout the state: money and the right attorney and psychologist protects you from the justice system.
What was most distressing were the words of Ethan Couch’s psychologist G. Dick Miller, who argued Couch “was the product of too much privilege and had never been reprimanded for his actions and therefore was not responsible for his actions, calling him a product of “affluenza.”
Bad “apple” didn’t fall far from the tree
In a story of kids learning from their parents, it looks like Ethan Couch may have learned to avoid consequences and make bad decisions from his parents. According to reports, Couch’s mother, Tonya, “had five traffic-related charges while his father, Fred, had 22 incidents, dating as far back as 1989.”
What everyone seems to think now is it’s time for Ethan Couch to face some type of accountability for his actions. While some critics of the judge’s decision tried to make this about race, it’s more about economics.
It’s less about what would have happened to an African American teen in this situation and more about how the rich, regardless of ethnicity, seem to avoid consequences in the justice system. White, African American, Asian or purple…it doesn’t seem to matter. The message seems to be the same: If you have enough money or fame it seems you can avoid consequences. What’s worse – Ethan Couch didn’t seem to care.
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