By on December 12, 2013

affluenza

On June 15th of this year, three people who had stopped to help the driver of a stranded vehicle in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were struck by a vehicle driven by sixteen-year-old Ethan Couch. All three people were killed, as was the driver. The two passengers in Ethan’s car were ejected; one suffered from multiple broken bones, while the other was paralyzed to the point that he must now use his eyes to communicate with others.

Testing revealed that Ethan was drunk, with a BAC of .24, and had traces of Valium in his system. The prosecution asked for a twenty-year prison sentence. What they got was something else entirely.


After hearing that Ethan suffered from “affluenza”, and being informed that his parents would pay $450,000 to have his addictions and issues treated at a private center, Judge Jean Boyd imposed a probation-only sentence.

Eric Doyles, whose wife and daughter were killed in the crash, noted that “Money always seems to keep Ethan out of trouble…. (T)his was one time I did ask the court for justice and for money not to prevail.”

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112 Comments on ““Affluenza” Sufficient Defense To Avoid Prison After DUI Crash Kills Four...”


  • avatar
    threeer

    I can’t imagine the horrendous agony the family members are for those that were lost. Money might not by you happiness, but it apparently buys you a “get out of jail” card, even after snuffing out four lives while being completely blitzed.

  • avatar
    J.Emerson

    One of the things I remember from driver’s ed was the instructor’s explanation of why extremely drunk people survive DUI accidents when sober people often do not. According to what he told me, the muscular relaxation effect of alcohol means that people are able to withstand much greater forces on their body than they would be able to otherwise, especially since they don’t tense up during an accident. It seems possible, but I honestly have no idea if this is supported by an statistical or medical evidence.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I’ve heard that as well, and always try to tell myself that if I see an accident about to happen involving myself that I just go limp, or lighten up)
      From what I can tell tensing your muscles doesn’t give them the needed …. How can I put it… Absorption stress rate?, and it would cause rips and strains from the sudden throw.

      Well that’s my non medical (anti?) explanation to myself.

      • 0 avatar
        Elena

        I heard the same from two doctors after a crash. Both told me stunt drivers do not sustain injuries during crashes citing as the cause they do not brace for impact. Problem is I was trying to avoid collision, then change impact point to avoid hitting passenger in the other car… They know what’s coming and can relax. Later I also learned they use a harness to further detach from forces related to sudden deceleration. True or not, at least some doctors believe it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      It’s a load of crap. Put a 6000lb load on your chest and tell me if being relaxed makes a difference (30-60G times your weight).

      Drunk drivers sometimes get lucky because they’re in a cage designed to protect them in a crash. Move along.

      Edit – sorry for the tone this article made me mad like the rest of us.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Examples like this are why I have almost no faith in the so-called criminal “justice” system, and believe (half-seriously) that a return to clan feuds and vengeance killings wouldn’t be a step backwards.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      I half-seriously like this idea. Once a quarter; a fiery cross to rally my team, kilts, and swords. Oh to be Laird of the Cubicles on the 7th floor and Chieftain of the break room and free k-cups supplied by corporate liege lords. PowerPoint will be forbidden and productivity will increase in el scotto shire.

      • 0 avatar
        AlternateReality

        I applaud this idea completely seriously. I also find myself seriously hoping that ‘someone’ delivers the appropriate punishment to this little sh!t that our limp-dick court system failed to provide.

        I’ve often thought that in matters like this, where guilt is absolutely unquestionable, the standard should be less “innocent until proven guilty” and more, “you have two minutes to tell us why we shouldn’t kill you now.”

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      This happened in Texas, it really is not entirely unlikely that someone in the victims families will deliver some frontier justice.

      I can’t remember the movie, I think it was Clint Eastwood who said “Some people need killin’”

  • avatar
    SamTheGeek

    Given the source material for this story is RT, I wouldn’t be surprised if the facts are actually far less damning, and the kid actually has psychological issues better treated in an inpatient center than in a prison.

    RT has a habit (well, mandate, really) to point out the failings of the US’s legal and political systems. It’s quite literally a propaganda machine – the fact that people treat it as unbiased reporting is shocking.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      Your view of this issue depends on whether you think the culprit needs treatment or punishment. If you think he needs treatment only, the sentence the judge handed down makes sense.

      If you think he deserves punishment, as the families of his victims surely do, then the justice system has failed.

      If your actions kill 3 people and injure more, I think that is more than a treatment issue.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        What about preventing this kind of tragedy from happening again as a guiding principle — instead of punishment or treatment?

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        This is really an issue of gross negligence on the part of the parents. What parents in their right minds allow a child with serious psychological issues to have access to alcohol, drugs, and a car? Reminds me of the Newtown case where the mother bought her mentally disturbed son, who had a history of violence, an AR-15. Let the parents rot in prison.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          IIRC he was a big Call of Duty fan, where he gained his expert firearms skills. Naturally mom wants to placate her son.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          “Reminds me of the Newtown case where the mother bought her mentally disturbed son, who had a history of violence, an AR-15″

          Where did you get that idea?

          All information I’ve heard and can find in a re-check today suggests:

          1) No remotely significant “history of violence” – and the “mental disturbance” in question being autism rather than schizophrenia or something often associated with actual murderous violence.

          2) That the rifle in question was the mother’s, not bought “for him”.

          3) That said rifle was stolen from a locked safe *after he murdered her*.

          That changes quite a bit, doesn’t it?

          • 0 avatar
            azmtbkr81

            I checked, you are right, it wasn’t bought for him but he shot it on a regular basis and had easy access to it and the other weapons used in the shooting so it really changes nothing at all.

            Mental illness or not if my child kept lists ranking mass murders and played video games simulating school shootings it would certainly indicate violent tendencies and be a major cause for concern. His father, in one of the interviews claimed that from a young age he was afraid to let him out of his sight for fear he would hurt himself or someone else. Knowing all of that you still think it is a good idea to leave him alone for many days with access to not only guns but knives, swords, and other weapons? Give me a break.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Pretty much the same story no matter what media outlet reports it…

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      One factor in this case is Ethan Couch is a minor so he was being tried in the juvenile justice system. He wasn’t being prosecuted as an adult even though Texas isn’t shy about prosecuting juveniles as adults. The sentence is focused on rehabilitation instead of punishment.

      http://www.wfaa.com/news/crime/Defense-pushes-for-intensive-therapy-for-teen-in-drunken-crash-that-killed-4-235288101.html

      I would guess that the real punishment will come in civil court following the guilty criminal verdict. It’s hard to come up with a more sympathetic set of victims combined with the wealth of the Couch family to attract ambulance chasers. The parents will pay big time.

    • 0 avatar
      mr.cranky

      @SamTheGeek- If you think RT is bad, then you should see anything that News Corp (aka Fox News) puts out.

      As for young Ethan? Karma has a way of catching up to you.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    The kid will be looking over his shoulder the rest of his life. And if he isn’t, he’s a sociopath.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I hope the police look at the finances of the judge very carefully. Someone has been paid off.

    • 0 avatar
      WhiskerDaVinci

      Not necessarily. The justice system has a huge track record of going easy on wealthy people. Look at every celebrity trial that has ever taken place. Most get off easy, regardless of what they’ve done or how often. I doubt each of those judges had been paid off as well.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        He could have simply been a cooperative 1st offender who didn’t look like much of a threat. I helped a friend who committed a non-violent felony in Dallas County while in a manic state. She was poor and had a court appointed lawyer, but she sought mental health treatment and showed up early to each court appearance dressed like she was going to a job interview. I believe her appearance, demeanor, and effort to turn her life around helped her get probation. I saw an amazing number of people who showed up for their court appearance dressed like a gang member.

  • avatar
    Monster.Hair

    Ok, so no criminal charges, because, well, whatever. That leaves civil courts to suck away all his rich boy money and leave his parents hurting too. I bet there’s a couple of lawyers that would see the investment in this.

  • avatar
    April

    The One Percent wins again…

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      The 1% asserts their rights and the 99% do not.

      Situation: The police show up at a rowdy party where teenagers are drinking.

      Rich Person House: The designated sober kid comes out on the porch and shuts the door behind him. “Thank you so much for your concern, officer, but everything is fine here. We’re terribly sorry about the noise – we’ll get that fixed right away. Have a good day, now.” The police can’t do anything but leave. If they push for entering the home, the designated kid says “hold on outside this private residence, I’m going to get my dad’s lawyer to come down and supervise.” By the time an adult shows up, the house is clean and everyone is SOBER.

      Poor Person House: Drunk idiot opens the door. “NOOO, it’s the police!!!” and runs back inside, leaving the door wide open. Police enter and detain teenagers – “Have you been drinking?” Teenager A: “Yes” (BUSTED!). Teenager B – “Nope.” Cop: “We’ll have to breathalyze you, let me just wake up your parents and brief them on the situation” … “We just picked up your son at an illicit party and he appears stone drunk. May we breathalyze him?” Groggy parent: “Uh, ok”. (BUSTED!).

      Poor kids can handle the situation just the same as the rich kids. But they don’t. They don’t even need a lawyer, they just need to legally stonewall the police until they are sober. Period.

      Everyone has rights, but not everyone uses them.

      • 0 avatar
        SaulTigh

        I think you certainly have a point. My theory has always been that if you look at the top 20% of income earners in the US, you would find their IQ’s are substantially higher than the people in the bottom 80%. Outliers exist of course. Nobody says Lindsey Lohan is very smart, but she has money. I’ve also known the occasional really smart poor person.

        I think the point of the article is that even if rich people make a very poor decision, they have the resources to navigate the legal system to an outcome that is more favorable to them than somebody without resources who did the same thing and is using a public defender.

        • 0 avatar
          Xeranar

          Saultigh: Your ‘rich people are smarter’ theory has been tested endlessly and you know the result? They aren’t, the professional class is on average smarter than average but thats where wealth and intelligence diverge. The biggest indicator is….were they wealthy to start. Basically if you come from a million dollar family you’ll stay or grow it because you have the assets to work for you. Late 20th century billionaires exemplify that basic fact.

          But that’s besides the point. Most economists are against all this wealth accumulation at the top. In fact raising minimum wage to something substantial like 15-20 an hour would cause all wages to rise in kind and distribute wealth back into the hands of the middle and working class.

          So if you want to lump people who break 100K (I.e. doctors, high-end engineers, professors at major universities) into the rich you’ll find a smarter class but that isn’t nearly as telling when you reach the elite 1% that sits on nearly 40% of all the wealth with IQs that barely qualify them as gifted.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        No one should have the “right” to kill people and get away with it because he’s rich. That’s DISGUSTING.

      • 0 avatar
        April

        Chicago Dude@ A more likely scenario is the local Police will knock on the door politely at the Richie Rich home. On the other side of the tracks they “knock” on the door with a door ram and rush in with weapons drawn.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Only a bent judge would dare to impose a blatent slap on the wrist like this .http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2424685/posts

    Her reputation for allowing young thugs to go free is well known,even on this side of the world.

    I hope the ambulance chasers are talking with the victims families .If it were my family members killed by a drunk,I am sure I would be seeking a remedy. If his parents are rich enough to blow on a holiday in rehab ,they will be rich enough to front a court and explain why they allowed their 16 year old son to drink,let alone drink and drive.

    • 0 avatar
      mr.cranky

      @Ron B- If it were my family member, I’d find a way to suck the richies dry in civil court.

      No one should do things like this and get away with it, regardless of income or status.

      It’s absolute bullshit and if people here can’t see this, then I feel sorry for them.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    Further to this:
    ” Testifying on the teen’s behalf, Miller described an upbringing of carefree privilege for the youth, the kind only money can buy — a lot of money.

    For example, Miller pointed out, a year ago Couch, then 15, was found parked in a pickup truck with a drunk, unconscious and near-naked 14-year-old girl, but faced no discipline beyond a ticket.

    The psychologist described the boy as lacking emotional responses from years of getting anything he wanted from his parents, who let him drive starting at age 13.

    He was behind the wheel of a pickup owned by his father’s company when, driving with a blood-alcohol level of 0.24, he killed 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell, whose vehicle was pulled over with a flat tire, and three neighborly passers-by who were helping her change it: youth pastor and father of three Brian Jennings, 41, and mother-daughter pair Hollie and Shelby Boyles, 52 and 21 years old.

    The teens in the pickup reportedly stole the alcohol that they consumed that night, after they were turned away from buying it for being underage.

    Couch and his parents face at least five lawsuits claiming millions in damages from families of his victims. Cleburne Sheet Metal is also named in the lawsuits, for owning the truck that Couch was permitted to drive.

    Sources: KDFW TV, WFAA TV, Dallas Morning News, Cleburne Times-Review, CBS 11 TV

    Obviously has an alchohol problem but is also a child molester.

    • 0 avatar
      Garak

      Where I live, drunk, naked teens passed out in a car is called “friday night”.

      The kid needs help instead of imprisonment, putting people to rot in jail for decades only wastes taxpayers’ money.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Cry me a river. “Help???” Rich people who pay to keep their children out of trouble aren’t helping them worth a damn. He’ll be in the news again before his life is over. Or possibly *when* his life is over.

        Oh yeah I forgot, he’s the victim. In the United Special olympics of America, he should at least get a medal or badge or something.

        • 0 avatar
          Elena

          I agree with you: He’ll be in the news again. Hopefully obituaries. Sorry, no sympathy for drunk people involved in a crash (I refuse to consider that an accident).

      • 0 avatar
        jz78817

        HE.
        KILLED.
        FOUR.
        PEOPLE.

      • 0 avatar
        Detroit-Iron

        @Garak

        Where I live that is called “Rape.” Considering that he killed four people, maimed two more, and attempted to rape (at least) one girl, he should be buried under the jail. And you are just an awful person.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Methinks Cleburne Sheet Metal will be going Chapter 7 soon…

          • 0 avatar
            George B

            The truck Ethan Couch drove was owned by Cleburne Sheet Metal of Fort Worth, so the company probably has some exposure here.

            http://www.cleburnesheetmetal.com/home.html

            Hope the workers of the company don’t lose their jobs because of the irresponsibility of Couch family.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        No one says he would have to go to jail for 10 years – I’d say a couple of years would be enough to straighten him out.

      • 0 avatar
        mr.cranky

        @Garak- This kid needs a lesson in reality, not a psychologist.

        I love it when people use bullshit to justify bullshit.

    • 0 avatar
      imag

      If it is going to be argued that the parents are at fault, it seems reasonable that the parents should get the jail sentence.

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        Absolutely, the parents are 100% at fault here and should have the book thrown at them. My mom has the pleasure of working a rich, private school and these types of stories were run of the mill: rich parents who would rather spend their time vacationing out of the country leave their spoiled hapless children to their own devices. Putting 100k in your 16 year old’s bank account and throwing him the keys to a new BMW apparently goes a long way towards assuaging the guilt brought on by neglect.

  • avatar
    vent-L-8

    I can assume that the parent’s wealth will keep the forthcoming civil trails in litigation and endless appeals for the next few decades.

    How can I sign up to be afflicted by Affluenza?

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    This is such a tough situation. So many kids under the age of early 20s drive drunk from time to time. In many cases, no amount of parenting can stop this from happening. Nearly all of them, including some of your kids, routinely get away with it. Every so often, one of these kids finds themselves in a terrible situation. And, so many families suffer. Perhaps technology will solve this for us … in a short number of hears, a vehicle will reliably avoid an accident. Even with today’s technology, you would think we could do so much better. Perhaps government should start requiring accident avoidance technology on all vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Wow

      You’re the worst kind of imbecile – one that advocates the removal of personal responsibility in favor of government regulation and over reach. What’s worse is that you are implying this situation could have been avoided if only the government had more regulations and laws.

      There are already laws and regulations in place to deal with situation like this as drunk driving is illegal. Instead of enforcement of the current laws and actual penalties for breaking them, you dream of a world where people have even less responsibility for their actions. You would rather the government and not the driver be responsible for avoiding accidents.

      Despite all of this, what really amazes me is your casual acceptance of drunk driving as “so many kids” do it and “nearly all of them” get away with it. I can’t but wonder if you’re speaking from the perspective of a failed parent, a casual drunk or perhaps both.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      This is not a tough situation. Most parents take responsibility for their children. If mine broke my rules they paid the price. They may be his biological parents but they’ve done nothing to raise him and make him a decent member of society. They routinely let him break the law and probably thought by letting him do whatever he wanted that showed that they loved him. The parents need counseling as much as the kid does. Thankfully multimillion dollar lawsuits will explain the obvious to these woefully ignorant people.

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      No technology, regardless of how advanced it is, can replace personal responsibility. Parents have all means to monitor the driving behaviour of their offspring. Government mandated collision avoidance in all vehicles just because parents can’t do their job? I find it easier to surrender custody to government and let them deal with the kids ’cause parents are too busy to take care. In the end is what will happen, when they end up in jail.

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Technology has an excellent track record for replacing personal responsibility. It’s not 100% successful, but proper application of technology can mitigate substantial lapses in person responsibility or decision making. That’s the fundamental idea of increasing safety by way of engineering countermeasures.

        In many cases the technology need not be all that advanced.

        For example, the interlock on my microwave door will not let the magnetron energize if the door is not fully closed and latched. This technology effectively replaces my personal responsibility to not operate the microwave with the door open, and thereby prevents me from irradiating myself.

        We can debate the extent to which this applies to driving, but the basic concept of using technology/design as a replacement for pure personal responsibility is proven successful.

        • 0 avatar
          mr.cranky

          @bikegoesbaa- What if you know how to drive, etc but there’s a situation that you just can’t avoid?

          That’s why I appreciate the technology that’s available to me. It’s not a replacement for personal responsibility but it’s a hell of a nice thing to have just in case.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    It would have been useful to note that the Fox DFW article mentioned that had he received the maximum the DA asked for, he would have served two years or less as someone who was very much a minor at the time of the offense.

    10 years real probation (even for multiple fatalities) isn’t very far out of line with sentences imposed elsewhere, moneybags parents or not. And certainly it’s better for him to receive addiction treatment rather than simply serving jail time and ending up back on the streets.

    Personally, I think sentences for wrecks involving drugs or alcohol are way too light, but that’s the fault of lenient sentencing laws, not a milktoast judge and rich parents.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      A couple of points here. First, studies have shown that incarceration — or the threat of it — is a very effective deterrent against “white collar” criminals, although not so much against street thugs. What this kid needs is to be knocked out of the protective cocoon that his parents have built for him with their apparently ample supply of money. I have personally seen this effect time and again: affluent and well-connected parents start shielding their kids from the consequences of their actions beginning when they are young teenagers. As time passes, the severity of their transgressions increases until the point that it gets really serious, like this, or like killing someone in a fit of rage.

      Two years in the joint would teach this boy that he has been living in a cocoon that ultimately is toxic to both him and, of course, to his victims. The probationary sentence simply lets him stay in the cocoon, of which a fancy rehab center is just a part.

      All kids push the limits when they’re growing up. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people; finding the limits is just a natural part of growing up. It’s when the adult world, starting with the parents, doesn’t push back that big problems start to develop.

      I predict one of two paths for this kid, neither of them good. Path A is that he remains addicted to some some sort of narcotic/anesthetic substance as a way of coping with the guilt he carries (or eventually develops) for having killed all of these people. Path B is that he becomes a functional sociopath, who either has no feelings of guilt or remorse for his action or who rationalizes them away — with the assistance of “therapists.” If he follows Path B, he will be a very dangerous guy.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      “Isn’t very far out of line with sentences imposed elsewhere”

      I mean, I was sentenced almost 13 years ago, but I can tell you at the time 2-3 years actual juvenile detention for at-fault collisions involving death was a reasonable standard sentence.

      And in the last decade, speaking at seminars, giving sentencing request recommendations, and talking to families on both sides, I can say that the biggest change in that is the addition of extremely long probation terms after the initial penal phase.

      The fact that this young man, regardless of past behavior, received effectively no additional sentence beyond a habitual substance abuse stint is appalling. The sad truth is it will likely only come up again when he does something idiotic again, hopefully after he is 18 so juvenile guidelines no longer apply.

  • avatar

    Kid looks like Joffery Baraetheon.

    Don’t worry guys. No matter how rich people are, they can still die. No amount of cash stops that.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Yo dawg, there’s a ready made wife waiting for you in Bexley Ohio. She is just as much the victim as you are.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    “He needs help, not prison” Really? How about we make an example out of this turd?
    No accountability or repercussions, it will just keep happening. If it was your wife and daughter, would you really think the same- “Ahh just let ‘em go, he is a kid.” No f-in way.. Hang that POS.. some things are unforgivable. This is one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Are alcoholics or drug addicts rational people who respond to seeing others “made an example out of”? Especially those who get hammered and then go out driving?

      I’m not sure, but I think in most cases they are not. People who are thinking in terms of cost/benefit and realistically assessing risks don’t routinely consume large quantities of poison and then operate machinery while intoxicated.

      If that’s accurate, I question the practical preventative value of punishment/hanging as a primary solution here.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Are alcoholics or drug addicts rational people who respond to seeing others “made an example out of”? Especially those who get hammered and then go out driving?”

        No, an alcoholic doesn’t respond to “examples,” but when the “example” is the alcoholic himself, it can be a different story.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      Hang the kid? OK, sounds good. But what’s really needed is to double-tap the parents, both of them, publicly.

      • 0 avatar
        Halftruth

        I am not saying to make examples out of these people but this is an ongoing problem and four people dying is no joke. It was a real crime that begs for real time. So let’s compromise. Give him the help he needs and then ten years incarceration and he never ever drives again. And as far as the parents, they are only responsible to a point. This kid is old enough and understands what he did. He has to own it. Enough of the grey area crap, he ended four lives in one shot. In what world is this even remotely acceptable?

  • avatar
    natrat

    given the level of corruption in this country it’s a good chance his honor just made a million $ for his cayman account

    • 0 avatar
      carrya1911

      No.

      The idea that the judge was paid off is stupid. It’s stupid because it’s unnecessary. If you don’t deal with the criminal justice system often you may think that it routinely puts bad people away for long periods of time. Take it from someone who has tried to put bad people away for long periods of time:

      There are plenty of jurists and juries out there who are inclined to believe the sob stories of people who do horrible things and then let them off lightly. They require no compensation. They show up on day 1 more able to identify with the tribulations that beset the guy who killed four people because he’s standing there looking all sympathetic and unable to identify with the grieving family members of mangled corpses who aren’t in the court room in front of their eyes.

      They have this idea that no one is beyond redemption, and that people deserve a second chance. The fact that the dude in front of them has already had dozens of chances before this doesn’t penetrate their thinking IF it isn’t outlawed outright as prior bad acts that can’t be brought into a trial.

      So bad people who know how to play the system often get slaps on the wrist. Money doesn’t need to change hands to make this happen. All you need is people who believe themselves to be more enlightened, open minded, and compassionate than their peers to make this happen. People who think that we just have too many people in jail cells, not seeming to process that the dudes we keep letting out of jail are responsible for the majority of carnage and mayhem on the street. When our idealist betters are involved, murderers, armed robbers, child molesters, and drunks who killed people will be let free to do it all over again.

      Now one could certainly describe that phenomenon as a form of corruption, but it isn’t a result of money changing hands.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        “So bad people who know how to play the system often get slaps on the wrist. Money doesn’t need to change hands to make this happen. All you need is people who believe themselves to be more enlightened, open minded, and compassionate than their peers to make this happen. People who think that we just have too many people in jail cells, not seeming to process that the dudes we keep letting out of jail are responsible for the majority of carnage and mayhem on the street.”

        So, does anyone here know Dexter Morgan’s phone number?

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Today I learned a new word, “affluenza”. My parents use to argue quite a bit. So, I may be a victim, too.

    http://bit.ly/1f8GnvQ

    That said, the judge screwed up. This affluent youngster needs to quickly find out that there is a real world out there. Texas law allows for at least a couple of years of detention in a juvenile jail.

    The judge ruled for this youngster to spend couple of years at a clinic in Newport Beach, California.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Typical rich a$$hole and rich a$$hole family. When people say they would do anything to help their own kid avoid getting in trouble for a DUI, this is the other side of that. If your kid did this, what would you do?? I know its harsh but I would feel they should take the punishment. All the crap about how they all do it, they are young, they don’t understands, that’s all bull$hit.

    • 0 avatar
      Elena

      I guess I made the right decision having no kids. Your question made me think what would I do… Skip the gory details: I would spend the rest of my life in prison.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This isn’t a kid who made a one-time error – this is a kid with a serious addiction problem.

      I’m no expert on addiction, but my family has three recovering alcoholics in it, and I know from experience that they all stopped only their lives got so unbearable that it was either stop, or lose everything. My mom has been sober for 35 years, and it took being threatened with losing her home, and family, and eventually her health, before she stopped. One of my brothers stopped after he stumbled into a restaurant in the middle of the night after having been in accident he didn’t even remember, with no idea where his car was, and no idea if he’d killed someone (my parents had to call the cops to make sure of that). My other brother stopped after a drug dealer kicked down his door in the middle of the night and beat him to a pulp. And as bad as all this is, it’s pretty tame compared to some of the other stories they’ve told me.

      The unfortunate truth of addiction is that most people don’t stop because of rehab – something horrific has to happen, and there’s still no guarantees.

      So, you know what my solution would be? A couple of years in jail would do it. Jail has sobered a lot of people up.

  • avatar
    noxioux

    Young Ethan needs to be hung from a traffic light in the center of town. And that judge needs to be publicly horsewhipped.

    Too bad you can’t charge this judge 5 years down the road when Ethan gets drunk again and kills someone else. Because he will.

    I know it’s petty and small of me, but who’d be in for a “Kill Ethan Couch” bumper sticker?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If I was this family, I wouldn’t be so worried about criminal charges but the impending lawsuits which will almost certainly render them insolvent.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      We can only hope the parents lose all their toys from ginormous payouts to the victims of their “precious special snowflake.”

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      +1

      Bet they wished they’d let that punk kid do a couple of years in jail instead by the time this is all settled. It’d probably do him a lot more good than some rehab spa.

      • 0 avatar
        carrya1911

        While our society is plenty litigious and there’s real danger from it, that danger is primarily for people of modest means who can be bankrupted by billable hours.

        In a civil trial the psychotherapists will be out en masse explaining this kid’s issues and turning him into a sympathetic figure, and the parents will be pictured as solid salt of the earth people who were trying their best to deal with poor little mentally-ill Johnny.

        In the criminal case they blamed the parents, and in the civil cases they’ll blame the child. And justice will be done in neither, with relatively minimal payouts. The lawyers will rack up plenty of billable hours, but the families of the dead will receive paltry little for the loss of their loved ones.

        Within 15 years the kid will be dead. Mom and dad will still have lots of money. The families of the deceased will be bitter. Some politician somewhere will include this in his campaign to pass a law that doesn’t actually fix any of this nonsense, and will win, and will probably not even get the law passed. The world will keep turning.

        • 0 avatar
          Dan

          “Some politician somewhere will include this in his campaign to pass a law that doesn’t actually fix any of this nonsense …”

          The law can’t be allowed to interfere with the partying of our social betters but you’d better believe it can come down even harder on working men who blow a .10 after a rolling stop. The DUI industry was built on the mayhem inflicted by people like Ethan.

          And the people who bill $4500 for an afternoon of paperwork and one morning in court to get you out of it are people like Ethan’s parents.

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Remember our civil court lesson from the OJ trial – all you need to prove is someone’s actions caused the death of someone else. X4. And very often civil juries will fix the mistakes of the criminal court.

  • avatar
    E39luv

    They were careless people, Tom and Daisy–they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back to their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

    F. Scott Fitzgerald

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me. They possess and enjoy early, and it does something to them, makes them soft, where we are hard, cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations and refuges of life for ourselves. Even when they enter deep into our world or sink below us, they still think that they are better than we are. They are different.”

      -The Rich Boy

      Fitzgerald knew whereof he spoke.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Here’s hoping that a team of good attorneys, on behalf of the families of the deceased, file a civil lawsuit the likes of which GOD has never seen against this family.

    I want them to go Shai Hulud on them.

    Pay for junior to get out of it? Fine. Now time for insolvency.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The rock layer of suckage that may insulate this family from civil action is Ethan Couch was driving daddy’s company F350 at the time of the accident.

      So by being in a company vehicle, the company, if its an LLC or corporation (and dad’s rich, so what do you think) is the entitled sued.

      Dad could simply declare the company bankrupt, shut it down, and hang his shingle at a new firm. Liability problem solved.

      Got to love America.

      • 0 avatar
        Elena

        You are right: It is indeed an LLC (incorporated in 1995 in the State of Texas). Annual revenue estimated between 10-20 millions. Lawyers will found out about vehicles and other assets “owned” by the company.

  • avatar
    carrya1911

    This is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about in the cell-phone cookie thread. The idea that “enforcement!” is going to fix traffic deaths is a fantasy.

  • avatar
    vcficus

    +1 FreedMike, I’m no expert on addiction either but I became ‘allergic’ to alcohol several years ago (I either got it from drinking too much or a toilet seat… can’t remember) and got help quitting… all I know about it is I personally can’t have one or I want several RIGHT NOW and then bad things happen.

    I agree the kid may be psychotic (sounds like the psycharatrist thought so) but he certainly has a substance abuse problem too, why wasn’t he on probation for the last offense he committed? Oh, that’s right, the ‘affluenza’.

    Best way to cure his parents of it is in civil court, which sounds like it’s happening… sue them, their business, hit them for oh, I don’t know, a hundred million in punitive damages and keep plastering their pictures and defense of their son all over the news.

    Sooner or later their love of the money will overcome their love of the child… or they’ll just go broke.

    Stories like these really force home that legal drinking ages don’t matter, if you want to get f*&^%#! up you’re going to do it and checking ID’s will only make it take a few hours longer. I’m not saying get rid of them, but they’re pretty unenforcable when adults will look the other way.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Agreed with your post right up to the idea that drinking ages don’t matter – they do. If a liquor store doesn’t check ID, and the kid they sell to goes out and kills a family of six, they can be found liable in civil court, and their license can be revoked. Selling liquor illegally to kids is a one way trip to bankruptcy.

      Doesn’t mean that this is a 100% cure for some kid who is bound and determined to get his hands on booze, and naturally the laws won’t prevent 100% of these cases, but it’s better than no law at all.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    Stories like this , they are all too frequent. When I see T.V ads that warn of all the bad things that will happen if your caught driving drunk……I only have to pick up the paper and see it isn’t true. The wealthy beat the rap time and time again. Society loses , Lawyers rake in dough. At the very least , taxes on alcohol should triple. It’s all about money folks. Money = power. When a 24 pack of beer sells for the same or less than a similar quantity of Pepsi , something’s outta wack!

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I agree! There rarely is punishment for vehicular homicide, or killing people with a car.

      In NM people routinely get off for killing people with a car while drunk. One guy had 7 DUIs and still drove on a suspended license, and killed people on an Interstate in a head-on collision that was his fault.

      Oh, he was so sorry but it didn’t bring the dead back to life since this wasn’t the auto industry where the dead are routinely resurrected with a bailout.

      The best defense is still to drive the biggest heaviest vehicle on the road. That’s why SUVs and trucks are so popular.

      They may not prevent all deaths from collisions, but they sure are a lot better than the little rattle-trap pregnant roller skates the government and automakers want to shove us all into.

      And EVs? Foggettaboutit! If the collision doesn’t kill you, the resulting fire will bbq you to a crisp.

      • 0 avatar
        Elena

        I think you might like this vehicle:
        http://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/cto/4129664829.html
        I’m not the seller, just remembered it after reading your post.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yeah, we have quite a few H1s here in my area that are owned by outdoorsmen. None of them for sale though. I read somewhere that Ahnold has 5 or 6 of them in CA.

          We also have a lot of H2s here. Very popular. People hold on to them as if they are made of gold.

          Were I to ever buy a manly SUV, I’d have to go with the only one still in production and that is the Suburban 4×4.

          My wife’s dad bought a new one last year to replace his 1973 Suburban 454, but the new one is a dog with the 5.3L. Gutless. Slow on the uptake from a dead stop.

          I think I’ll stick with a half-ton truck.

  • avatar
    WhiskerDaVinci

    I come from a wealthy family. Fortunately I’ve never thought it entitles me to immunity from any legal problems I’ve had. I’ve never really had legal problems though because I was raised not to be a little bastard whose money makes me better than anyone else. I’ve never driven with any level of intoxication, I don’t even text or answer the phone while driving. Not even a speeding ticket. I’ve had addiction issues, but still somehow managed to not drive when using.Unfortunately I tend to be an exception all ’round with how seriously I take driving and safety.

    Addiction isn’t an excuse for killing three while driving intoxicated on various things. It’s certainly an explanation, but doesn’t make it okay. Asking for some leniency to seek treatment is appropriate, but so is prison time. It’s a shame that there aren’t more mult-stage sentences in the justice system. Alone, neither is enough or reasonable, but combining the two is appropriate.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Thanks for sharing that.

      • 0 avatar
        WhiskerDaVinci

        It was mostly done to point out that not all “rich kids” are douchebags. That and not all wealthy people just buy their kids out of legal problems, or condone other parents doing it. The blanket statements about our demographic misbehaving and not facing the consequences aren’t entirely fair, which is why I pointed out my situation.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    If you dig into the facts of this story, it gets increasingly sickening.

    This was not the first DUI for Ethan Couch. He was arrested earlier (don’t have an exact date) found passed out behind the wheel with a naked 14 year old with him.

    He didn’t just kill four people, he injured six more in the same accident. There were seven occupants (including him) in the Ford F-350 he was driving that night, two in the bed. Those two were ejected. One is so brain damaged they can no longer speak or move. The other is permanently disabled. The other three passengers in the cab had varying injuries.

    Veteran law enforcement and emergency services officers said it was the hardest accident scene they have ever had to work.

    Not only was he at .24 when they finally did a blood draw, but it was a full three hours after the accident. The two cases of beer he got loaded off of was stolen from a local Walmart before the accident.

    He was driving dad’s company F-350 at the time of the accident.

    Judge Boyd, who is an elected official in District 323 of Texas, announced her retirement as of 2014 (basically saying she will not rerun for her judge seat) the day before she issued this verdict. It really makes one wonder, if your cynical about our elected officials, just what exactly did she get in return.

    The Tarrant County Prosecutors Office has said there is basically nothing they can do at this point. The apparent message here is if you’re rich, you can basically plead you’re a sociopath with no sense of right or wrong – it was mom and dad’s fault and you can basically get off.

    And consider, when you see how probation is generally treated for the rich and connected, even if Ethan Couch screws up, the chances of him serving any kind of time is basically – nil.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Since he cannot be prosecuted a second time for vehicular manslaughter, I wonder if he can be prosecuted for the felony of stealing the beer from that Wal Mart. Maybe it’s possible that he may serve some time–not as much as he deserves, but some time just the same. It’s sort of like O. J. Simpson; he didn’t serve time for the murders, but was prosecuted heavily later for the unrelated issue with the armed robbery.

  • avatar
    jeffzekas

    Rich kid gets off: reminds me of Patricia Hearst, though even SHE did jail time!

  • avatar
    Aaron2013

    this is a disgusting story. if the driver’s parents were lower middle class, the young sociopath would be in jail.

    the parents and the judge deserve to burn in hell.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” All kids push the limits when they’re growing up. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people ; finding the limits is just a natural part of growing up. It’s when the adult world, starting with the parents , doesn’t push back that big problems start to develop . ”

    _THIS_ .

    I know first hand as we take in teenaged Foster boys , very few are actually bad boys but almost to a man their worthless parents wanted to ” be their friend ” so the poor damn kids think that because they’re they , anything they say or do , no matter how inappropriate , is O.K. and there will never , _EVER_ be any consequences .

    Then we get them and enroll them in school and try to make them understand things are different now and we’re pretty much their last stop before loserville poverty and despair for life .

    Most of the time they respond very well indeed to clearly defined limits and rules .

    Sadly one who I truly believe is a good kid , came home to – day in handcuffs and will soon be part of a group home full of criminals , we’ll get the tearful ‘phone calls begging to come back to us but it’ll be too later as when they screw the pooch with us , they affect the other boys so we can’t allow them to return .

    Such waste of life and almost always the parents fault .

    -Nate


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