December 12th, 2013
10:03 PM ET

New details on the deadly crash in the "affluenza" case

16-year-old Ethan Couch killed four strangers on Father's Day weekend in a drunk driving crash that also left one of his friends paralyzed. He faced the possibility of 20 years behind bars. But a judge sentenced him to probation after his lawyers argued that Couch was a victim of his family's wealth. An expert the defense put on the stand called it "affluenza." Randi Kaye has more on what happened on the night of the crash.
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Filed under: "Affluenza" • Randi Kaye
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. James

    They need to rebook at this case he is a minor and not subject to double jeapordy and a federal review of ALL of thei cases this judge presided over and finally a review of the judges financials . As for the D.A. The D.A. Does NOT have to accept this ruling by the judge and and investigation into WHY there isn't push back from the D.A.? Can the federal govt try him under federal guidelines in cases like this ? Or do so IF they the Feds find malfeance in this matter. The DOJ may have to reassign federal prosecutorial appointees out of Texas as G.W. appointed people that did republican bidding or were fired so no doubt those in texas are remnants of the Alberto Gonzales reign of terror in the Judicial system lastly the judge and all those that looked the other way can and should be sued federally not under the state rules, In a lawsuit all emails and files and notes can be court ordered turned over to the plaintive .

    December 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
  2. Kea

    This is not fair, to anyone! I would like to know how much leniency he gave to minorities in the same situation. This is an outrage and I pray the verdict is overturned in the court of appeals. If not, let's pull this Judge's case logs and give others the same punishment he gave the "rich" kid. I'm disgusted by this.

    December 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  3. Mary Conseca

    Stated simply, shielding this kid from the consequences of his actions NOW can NOT be in the best interests of a juvenile defendant whose lawyers, parents and hired psychologists all openly admit, suffers from a MENTAL DEFECT that was caused by the parental environment in which "he never learned about consequences." Obviously, such a 'shielding from the consequences' judicial decision would serve only to further aggravate the mental defect he suffers from.

    December 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  4. Andy

    The judge is obviously a republican nominee. If elected, then she deserves to be recalled immediately. How can this stand in a country where we have shed so much blood to reinforce the concept that, "all men are created equally"... have the dead of the civil war, the civil rights movement, the leaders of many large and small efforts that sacrificed all, have they died in vane? How can this be? It is so backwards thinking, I doubt any third world country would even allow this to happen. It just reinforces to the less fortunate what it means to be fortunate. You are different, you are better, you are worth more. Well, I certainly do hope that his family has a mountain of money, because I think I could, without a law degree, win all the civil cases about to come down the tubes. And I think had the young man, because yes, he is a young man, went the normal, logical way of justice, his family would not have to be stripped of their wealth, but with this decision I think the argument has already been made. Wealth can blind you to right and wrong, well mom and dad and brothers and sisters of the Affluenza sufferer, be prepared to "See The LIght!". Money will not replace the loved ones, but the loved ones will have to replace the money... more power to them. This judge must be removed.... I can't believe it is not ongoing right now...

    December 16, 2013 at 7:54 am |
  5. Steve

    If daddy wants to pay someone to say affluenza is the problem, maybe he should go to jail along with his son.

    December 14, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  6. Angel

    This is a disgusting example of "justice". That this boy could get away with killing 4 people and maiming others with no more than rehab and probation is tragic! However I am disturbed that , once again. the matter of race is being linked to it. I mean the mention of the other boy that was sentenced to 10 years in juvie can't be compared to this case. The reporter even states that all details were not available so they cant possibly be compared! I think this is purely a case where money has helped this boy to litterally "get away with murder". I dont think race played a part.

    December 14, 2013 at 12:42 am |
  7. Melanie

    Now is a great time to be taught those consequences of his actions. Perhaps the parents will learn consequences when they are rightfully held responsible financially.

    December 13, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
  8. Maria Victoria Bautista

    Where is justice? Do you call that justice? It came to my mind how if there is more wealthier than that of the Couch and that their son Ethan died because of the drunk driver, would they accept the same judgement for their dead son!? I prayed that the judge would see justice for the other family., so it will become an example to everyone that not because you are so called affluent, you can kill anyone, anywhere, anytime and still be free! Everyone should be responsible for their own action! You did the crime then you have to do the time! Wake up! Don't be convince by this affluent excuse. You know in your heart what is right! Do it right !

    December 13, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  9. c. babcock

    Poor people do time. Rich people put money under the table to get out of trouble.

    December 13, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
  10. Ralph P

    If "affluenza " is now a proper defense, a person who is "poverty-stricken" should be able to claim it as a viable defense as well !! Someone who is to poor to realize there are consequences to there actions. Equality at last!!!

    December 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Janet

      Yep, and the new defense terms for these will be "affluenza and povertyitis".

      December 15, 2013 at 8:14 am |
  11. Sylvia Hidalgo

    Justice must be given fairly......whether your rich or poor

    December 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  12. Dianne Struble

    Can this be over turned? Clearly this child needs serious help!

    December 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
  13. Daina

    A lot of people have been charged as an adult at the age of 16, why not him?

    December 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  14. Lucille

    The driver need sto go to jail. To suffer the consequences like anyone else would have to. He is addicted to alcohol and it a ticking time bomb.

    December 13, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  15. MoMo

    I am not saying this young man should be imprisoned. However, I strongly believe that family's entire fortune should be taken to care for the paralyzed friend and the families who lost loved ones in that horrible, unnecessary crash. The family needs to experience what it is like to not be AFFLUENT, and to be held responsible for their actions. One more example of the haves and have nots in our society!

    December 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm |

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