Country Club Punishment For Killer Of Four -- He Suffers From "Affluenza"

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Ethan Couch

Outrage is about all one can say over this: the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported

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, Tex., 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.

Here's a bit more about this deadly escapade before I get into the outrageous defense.

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, killing the woman, two people who lived nearby and came to help, 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.

Are you sympathetic toward him much yet?

His defense approach is simple, cop a guilty plea and throw yourself on the mercy of the court.

Well, when you're stinking rich, you go it even one better. You plead guilty but bring in a psychologist who proclaims the defendent has a rare condition. Keep in mind, four people are dead and two additional people are permanently disabled, one totally paralyzed. But it should be excused because the guilty party suffers from -- wait for it -- "affluenza."

Never heard of it? That's because it doesn't really exist. It was made up for this case.

It's 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.

How can this be tolerated? Texas, once again you have some blood on your hands.

What if Ethan Couch was black? They'd already have executed him. But this is Texas.

This judge must be totally on some psychiatric leave of her senses. She tolerates a made-up illness, "Affluenza," and accepts it as a bona fide justification for probation. This brings back memories of the Harvey Milk murder and the Dan White "Twinkie Defense."

What the hell is wrong with our justice system? Now we take pity on the rich because they're... rich?

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  • RepublicanSwine

    I could hardly read it. Juvenile or not, if you kill 4 people because of your irresponsibility, you do Hard-Time. " What if Ethan Couch was black, they'd already have executed him. But this is Texas" Sadly, spot-on.

  • lsamsa

    There needs to be some process for holding judges accountable.
    This decision goes beyond the pale.
    All this kid is going to learn is that money continues to win...that Daddy & Mommy will 'look after' whatever. Sick.

  • Sally

    Zimmerman walked....again..this week too. He will kill again, and so will this boy. Wonder if the state will at least deny him a driver's license for 10 years.

  • The Webcast Guru

    16 years old, and four dead. I must admit this story, as written, makes me wonder what that whole "no person is above the law!" thing is about.