For most people, conviction for vehicular manslaughter due to drunk driving warrants a lengthy sentence, but not in the case of Ethan Couch, a wealthy young man from the state of Texas.

The Keller, Texas, 16-year-old has a rare condition that a judge believes is best remedied with anything but dealing with the consequences for causing a DWI wreck that killed four people.

Couch suffers from “affluenza,” according to his lawyers, a term which means that his wealthy parents pretty much let him get away with everything.  The defense saved him from a 20-year sentence; State District Judge Jean Boyd bought it at his sentencing on Tuesday and gave Couch probation instead.

“He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way,” Gary Miller, a psychologist assigned to Couch said in court.  “He had the cars and he had the money.  He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle.”

The defense said this led to a rash of irresponsible behavior on the night of June 15 that ended in tragedy.  The spree began with Couch stealing beer from a Walmart with his buddies, jumping into a pickup truck, and smashing into a woman whose car broke down on a Burleson, Texas road.  In the process this irresponsible “punk” killed the woman, two people who lived nearby, who had attempted to aid the woman, and a passerby.

Court testimony revealed that Couch’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit.  He also admitted being drunk, while driving and losing control of his Ford F-150.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter by intoxication and two counts of assault by intoxication causing bodily injury.  Two teens in the bed of the truck were seriously  injured, and one cannot move or talk.

Texas sentencing guidelines for crimes like this call for fines of up to $10,000 and between 2 to 20 years in the state penitentiary.  But instead Couch got 10 years of probation and zero time.  If he slips up he could go to jail for 10 years, according to the Tarrant County District Attorney.

Defense attorney Scott Brown praised Boyd’s decision:  “She fashioned a sentence that could have him under the thumb of the justice system for the next 10 years,” he said.

Again and again in the news we see society excusing and dismissing the negative behavior of the youth of this country and then asks why they are so out of control.  I would be curious to know how much of this kid’s parent’s money went into the judge’s election campaign.  Again, in Texas, it is not about justice, but, instead, it’s based on wealth, position, and class.  It is too bad that those people who died were not afforded the same level of justice that this spoiled “punk” got.  Do not be surprised, if he continues displaying poor behavior.

As to the ascertain, that the father of this kid is paying for some expensive treatment for his son, I hope the families of those killed and maimed by this kid, sue this family and I hope that they are rewarded millions, but probably not in Texas.

Advertisements