A teenager from Texas got away with only 10 years of probation after killing four people and severely injuring two in a drunken driving accident. If you’re wondering how is that possible, it’s because a Texas judge was convinced by the wealthy teenager’s lawyers that he suffers from “affluenza”, a so-called condition which means that his parents let him get away with everything all his life.
Following this logic, State District Judge Jean Boyd ruled that he should not deal with the consequences of his actions, saving 16-year-old Ethan Couch from up to 20 years of jail time. Basically, the judge just continued the irresponsible behavior of the boy’s parents.
“He never learned that sometimes you don’t get your way. He had the cars and he had the money. He had freedoms that no young man would be able to handle,” Gary Miller, a psychologist assigned to Couch, said in court.
According to the defense, this led to his irresponsible behavior on the night of June 15, which ended in tragedy. Couch stole beer from a Walmart with his friends, jumped into a Ford F-350 pickup truck along with seven other passenger and smashed into a car that had broken down on the side of the road in Burleston, Texas, killing four people that were near the car.
The trial revealed that Couch’s blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit. The teenager admitted that he was drunk while driving and lost control of his pickup. He pleaded guilty to four counts of manslaughter by intoxication and two counts of assault by intoxication causing bodily injury. On top of the four deaths, two teens that were in the bed of the truck were seriously injured, one of which cannot move or talk.
So what do you think about this? Frankly, I believe this sets a dangerous precedent as people with more money than common sense will be encouraged to engage in similar behavior knowing that they can get away with it.
By Dan Mihalascu