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California is working to proactively block use of the 'affluenza' defense after a teen in Texas used his upper class upbringing as an excuse for causing the deaths of four people and seriously wounding two others while drunk driving. It would be the first such law in the country, according to The Los Angeles Times.

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, but Couch was given the surprisingly lenient sentence after his defense team successfully argued that the teen didn't fully appreciate the consequences of his actions due to his privileged life.


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  • 194 Comments
      nebster10
      • 1 Year Ago
      We already have laws prohibiting judges from taking bribes. This is probably what happened in this case.
      hagman3926
      • 1 Year Ago
      that case is a perfect example how far our country has fallen into the deep abyss
      • 1 Year Ago
      California doesn't need another new law - it needs a new judge! New laws always have unexpected consequences which will hurt non-affluent people as irresponsible lawyers and judges find ways to twist them.
      bdgrizcp
      • 1 Year Ago
      In any case, a jury gets to decide these things and there must have been something compelling in the defense attorney's argument that swayed the jury to support the 'affluenza' claim. Color me puzzled.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bdgrizcp
        He doesn't have 2 take a Jury trial he came come in front of a judge and let him hear the case .
        michelle
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bdgrizcp
        He was found guilty of manslaughter. It was the judge, not the jury, who decided the sentencing.
      flyingfortresb17
      • 1 Year Ago
      any state who allows this defense it really ignorant legally. I would hope that the parents or loved ones of any victim of a drunk rich child sue the governments and the parents and grandparents of the driver for failure to control his behaviors that result in death or injury. The state should never issue this person a driver's license again. He should be required to wear an ankle bracelet that detects any alcohol in his system.
      DonCHunter
      • 1 Year Ago
      All people should be equal under the eyes of the law. That includes rich kids and those from the "victim" categories (women, gays, native americans, Hispanics, blacks, handicapped, little people, Lithuanians, Chiristains, Jews, Hindus, et. al.). However, we live in corrupt and politically correct times; so good luck with that.
        hsenpfeffer
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DonCHunter
        Rich boys have ALWAYS been given a free ride under the law. That is why these other groups started demanding the same privileges. If there had ever been equal rights under the law there would have been no affirmative action.
      Dude
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow! There may be hope for California yet. Of course, this is just a proposed legislaiton, so there's still a chance for California to live up to it's reputation of using every excuse in the world to coddle criminals.
        seven7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dude
        Hell we take care of the felon illegals! Free food, housing, medical and education! I do my best to pay the least amount of tax! SoCal and North Cal need to split! All the crazy to far left idiots are in the North! Brown and his merry idiots do think it is a crime to be wealthy...he is a total communist!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dude
        It will pass. Democrats believe income inequality is a problem and that being rich should be a crime.
          cqdeed
          • 1 Year Ago
          Unless the rich person is a Democrat then it is not a crime. I read something on the internet here awhile back that said their the 1% had more rich Democrats than rich Republicans. Don't know if that is true but if you started your count in Hollywood CALIFORNIA it would start out in that direction.
      seven7
      • 1 Year Ago
      I am sure the rehab and 10yrs of probation will be a meaningful lesson. The 10yrs sounds a bit steep......but in the end he will realize he needs to have a driver or to call a cab when he drinks.
        Gayle
        • 1 Year Ago
        @seven7
        Are you kidding. 4 deaths and 12 injured one paralyzed for life and 10 yrs is too steep? Tell that to those people and their loved ones. He won't realize anything because he will lie and his parents will swear to it.
        flyingfortresb17
        • 1 Year Ago
        @seven7
        and you believe in fairy tales there. Have arrested DWI drivers more than ten times who had 3 or more DWI arrests and some with felony DWIs more than 2 times (those that resulted in serious injury or death).
        s5448985
        • 1 Year Ago
        @seven7
        Seven7--are you serious? Rehab and probation doesn't affect these brats at all. Only jail time does. You must live in CA.
      Nanu-Nanu
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Judge who allowed this defense needs to be removed from office. This is not a race issue, but it is an inept issue by the Judge and the Defense Attorney. Four lives lost and this Judge feels fine with it. Unbelievable.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Nanu-Nanu
        I live in Tarrant County and I was just blown away when the kid was let off because he was essentially a "spoiled brat" ... I mean atleast send him to Juvi until he is 18 or something... It was ridiculous!
      rcpaf83
      • 1 Year Ago
      Since the judge has declared his actions were not his fault because of affluenza (his parents never taught him right from wrong) then it must be his parnets fault !!! Therefore the victims/families should allowed to sue his parents for everything they have !!!!!! Also, I believe Texas is still reviewing this sentence and may throw it out an hold him accountable, which is the correct thing to do immediately after tossing this judge off the bench !!! Can't believe I agree with California on anything, but this would be a good law - IF we have to make such stupidity into a law......
      HANK
      • 1 Year Ago
      In most cases there are laws passed just to make one or another politician happy. In this I believe this would be a very good law. When I read the about the outcome of this case I was angry. This case PROVED that the rich can and do get away with murder. The judge who sat on the bench for this case should have been removed as soon as he gave the sentence. I am not saying the kid should have gone to jail for twenty years but at least ten. This defense proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that the judicial system can be bought.
      pilot3388u
      • 1 Year Ago
      What is wrong with this picture? Removing something that does not exist? Something is broken in the law when an obvious judge on the take is allowed to make such a decision. Throw the Judge in jail and have a real trial for the brat.
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