- Dec 18th 2013 at 9:55AM
Prosecutors Try Again To Get Affluenza Teen Jail Time
Rich kid receives no jail time; prosecutor had sought 20-year maximum sentence
Texas prosecutors are again trying to put a drunk-driving teen behind bars after he received only 10 years probation for a June crash that killed four people and seriously injured two more.
According to NBC DFW, Ethan Couch, 16, was given 10 years probation and ordered to a ritzy rehabilitation clinic for alcoholism after pleading guilty to four counts of manslaughter. The Tarrant District Attorney had sought the maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
There are, however, still two intoxication assault charges pending against Couch. The DA is seeking the maximum sentence in those cases – three years in a juvenile detention facility – from which Couch could not be released before his 19th birthday. The Fort Wayne Star-Telegram reported Judge Jean Boyd, who handed down the original, watered-down punishment, may also give Couch no punishment on these charges. That seems likely, as the judge did not sentence jail time for the more serious charges. Judge Boyd has faced considerable blacklash following the ruling: there is a petition on Change.org for the judge's removal that has garnered more than 15,000 signatures.
Couch had a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit and had Valium in his bloodstream when he crashed his truck into several people who were helping a stalled car on the side of the road. His defense lawyers argued Couch could not be held responsible for the deaths because he suffered from a disorder where the rich and privileged are unable to comprehend the consequences of their actions, a disorder known as 'Affluenza,' which is not recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as a legitimate disorder.
The families of those killed and hurt in the crash have filed five civil suits seeking damages against Couch, including the family of one of his passengers, who was paralyzed in the crash.