16-year old drunk driver Ethan Couch killed four people. He was sentenced to probation rather than prison after his lawyer argued he was a victim of "affluenza"; the idea being his wealthy parents had so completely indulged his prior bad behavior, he was incapable of taking responsibility for his actions. In other words, the “spoiled brat”defense. Now, Couch may have to mount a new defense. He is the focus of a new legal effort. Ed Lavandera has the latest.
Anderson discussed all this with former federal prosecutor Sunny Hostin and criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos.
I think both the kid and the parents should all go to jail for this horrible offense against 4 innocent people. Being a spoiled brat IS NOT a viable defense and should not even be countenanced by the U.S. court system. This judge also needs to be reprimanded for miscarriage of her duty to the citizens in her jurisdiction. If parents fail to teach their children right from wrong then I think they are not doing one of the most important parts of their job as parents. Perhaps this kid should be sent to live with less affluent people who have some decent morals and could attempt to instill some moral fiber into him.
The sad thing about this is that the kid will now be convinced that there are no serious consequences for killing while intoxicated, for vehicular manslaughter, and for rich kids, there are ways around the justice system, as long as your parents can buy the right lawyer. His "affluenza" is now perpetuated into his adulthood by this judge. The sentence does not correct or "treat" his affluenza. It becomes enabling, and reaffirms the impression of a lack of consequences for the affluent that his parents instilled in him. Now he will think he can get away with anything as long as he has enough money to buy so-called justice.
This is proof that you just have to be white and rich and all of your problems go away.
You have hit the nail squarely on the head.
One way or another this kid should pay for what he has done. At this point it seems clear the legal system is not going to make that happen.
the biggest criminal in this case is the judge that refused to dispense justice
Does that mean he will never be responsible?
A ridiculous defense and an even more ridiculous sentence.
This is outrageous! He murdered 4 people and injured 9 and still gets no severe punishment. People who are 16 years old aren't even allowed to drink alcohol. So basically he committed two HUGE crimes and still gets away with saying that he is so rich he doesn't even know the consequences of his actions. He well deserves juvenile, $50,000,000 million fee, and his driver's license taken away forever so he won't hurt anyone else again and get away with saying that his parents are rich. *AHH* Such a spoiled brat.
It's unfortunate that people know so little about juveniles and the law. This kid was 16, I think and could have been charged as a juvenile. He has been charged as an adult, and now has a criminal record that will stay with him forever. It's rare for people to get jail time on a vehicular homicide, unless they have priors.
Kids are amenable to treatment and rehab. Give the kid an opportunity to prove himself. Jail is not the answer.
Killed four, injured two, one with major permanent damage, while at three plus times the legal limit for DUI while 16, after drinking booze he and his buddies stole? Frankly, he should have gotten life and if he "rehabilitated" himself, let him take it up with the parole board in 30 or 40 years.
You don't know what you're talking about, but don't let that stop you from continuing to opine on matters beyond your scope of knowledge. First time offenders OFTEN get jail time in vehicular manslaughter cases. Posting the first thought that pops into your head, without taking a few minutes to verify the accuracy of what you're about to post, is never a good idea. You invariably end up, as you have here, looking foolish and uninformed.
KILLED 4 PEOPLE. If it was YOUR 4 relatives, your outlook on the situation would be different. Have some empathy. With actions come consequences, if the courts decided to try him as an adult, they obviously felt that he can stand as an adult. This is not a child, this is an adult in the eyes of the court who has committed murder. No matter how you look at the situation, those are the facts. Rehabilitation will not happen on the streets with money, freedom, and a PlayStation, rehabilitation is available behind bars. I pay for it with my taxes, make use of it.
The best cure for "Affluenza", a long jail term.
iif some feel the kid was improperly raised maybe them that raised him outta do the time
This kid deserves jail, the so called rehab us nothing more than a luxury spa.
Being rich is a a defense for bad behavior but not being poor. Is that because poor people have all the advantages?
Want to punish a teenager? Revoke his drivers license forever.
If I am reading this right it is perfectly OK to murder innocent people, if you have money (Ethan Couch) or the victim is dead and cannot defend himself against a lie (Zimmerman). These judges should be removed for incompetence, maybe they should serve the sentence the criminals they released did not. Recently another incompetent (District Judge G. Todd Baugh) released a man guilty of rape because apparently being the victim means you somehow caused the crime. Where are these morons sitting in judgement coming from? Why not make them write an I.Q. test and set a limit of say minimum of a 40 I.Q. to be a judge; however, District Judge G. Todd Baugh may have still made the cut.
If his lawyers say it was his parents' fault for spoiling him, then his parents need to be charged as accessories to the crime.
Betcha they sing a different tune about their boy taking responsibility when *they* start looking at doing time.
Alternately, it sounds like the victim's families have a very strong civil case against the kid and his parents.
I keep hearing that prison is best cure for affluenza... But I have a feeling a $10,000,000 judgement against you works pretty well too.
I fully agree and have been saying this for years. Parents that have minor children need to be responsible for them. If the child kills or robs and is out all night long and unsupervised, I do believe the parents should go to jail along with the minor! Thank you!
I agree completely. This is exactly what they do in North Korea.
Why not investigate possible connections of judge (not seeking re-election) to the affluent family involved in this case? The outcome of the trial is so bizarre, one would have to wonder. If corruption can be found, then at least pursue the folks who impeded justice in this case.
I would hope that with four (4) victims, a civil court would remove any possibility of an "affluenza" defense from future prosecutions by removing the 'wealth' from the family...
The Judge in this case should be removed from the bench – Forever !
Since he wants to play the "Spoiled Brat" defense, charge the parents with 4 counts of Negligent Homicide. Put the parents on trial too.
Dan, that's exactly what I've been saying. The parents should be held responsible instead.
I'm in total agreement with this comment as well. The parents abrogated their parental rights by raising a lawless kid. Hold them responsible also.
Just whats wrong in america. Injustice, after a couple of week nobody will care... Just wrong send him to jail.
Lock him up
I think he should be held accountable. I know money can buy almost anything but NOT 4 LIVES. If he were black, brown or poor white kid, he would be doing time for a very LONG time. It is disgusting that he only got a slap on the hand.
He could have been a kid with two parents that made $200k a year and he would have served jail time. I knew them all and from all walks (I was not one of these but I was friends with many). Yes, they had a 'different tune' but not for long. Burleson is known for being tough on crime, just not tough on time when their's 'real money' and 'elections' on the table. Sounds like their attorney has been working their politics well and didn't come from Johnson County or Cleburne. Probably some big firm in ritzy Dallas or Plano with enough muscle to force the judge to play 'dog' with the plaintiffs.
This is why elected judges are a bad idea.
Yeah, I should appoint them all.
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