By now most of us have heard about Ethan Couch, the convicted teen who killed four people in a drunken driving accident in 2013 and somehow managed to avoid any time in prison. CNN now reports that due to his probation violations and subsequent attempt to avoid arrest by fleeing to Mexico, he will be put in jail. The big news, however, is that Couch, who is now 18 years old and is considered an adult within the criminal justice system, will be moved to an adult jail.
What is not clear, however, is whether Couch will be prosecuted as a juvenile or adult for his probation violation. The judge will make this decision at a hearing scheduled to be held February 19th. As of this moment, the court has clarified that the change for Couch’s detention only relates to his housing; he remains a prisoner within the juvenile court.
What does Couch say about his incarceration?
According to CNN reports, Couch remains silent about the news. “His demeanor and attitude were much the same as when I saw him at the juvenile detention center,” said Sheriff Dee Anderson, a Tarrant County, Texas, Sheriff. Couch’s attorney, Scott Brown, also confirmed that Couch was not concerned enough about the transfer to fight it.
The prison sentence, even if it is in an adult facility, will only be for 120 days, the allotted sentence for a probation violation for this offense. Ethan Couch is currently being held without bond and will remain in jail until the hearing.
What about Couch’s mother?
The real challenges could come for Tonya Couch, Ethan Couch’s mother. Many have been critical in her role, arguing that her parenting could be partly to blame for her son’s actions. In fact, a psychologist for the defense at the trial argued as much, describing Ethan’s condition as “affluenza,” which has been defined as the inability to make strong moral decisions because of excessive wealth and lack of sound parenting.
Well, she’s getting her dues now. According to CNN reports, Tonya Couch could be charged with hindering the arrest of a criminal which could lead to penalties of up to 10 years in prison. Currently Tonya Couch is free on a $75,000 bond.
What do we learn from this case?
There’s so much to be learned from this case- the importance of setting reasonable boundaries for your children and not spoiling them or allowing them to suffer the consequences of their bull-headed actions.
What if Ethan Couch had been initially sent to a juvenile facility to serve a lengthy jail sentence for killing four people? What if the adults in his life had acted like adults? What if he never was given a car to drive until he proved he was a responsible young man?
We’ll never know the answers to these questions. What we do know is that a child was being reared by another child who refused to be an adult and set reasonable boundaries. Now four people are dead and the rest of us will continue to suffer.
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