By on December 18, 2015

Ethan-Couch

When Ethan Couch killed four people in an alcohol-related crash, his attorney argued that he suffered from “affluenza” — an inability to understand consequences brought on by a life of pampering and kid-glove treatment from his wealthy parents. To nearly everyone’s surprise, it worked, and Couch received nothing more than probation for his actions.

Earlier this month, a video of Couch attending a beer-pong party and sitting at a chair with a can of beer went viral, leading members of the community to demand that the court take action. But now Couch, and his mother, have gone missing, and local authorities think it might be an attempt to flee the country.

“With the wealth and the wherewithal that his family has, it’s going to be a tough assignment for us to find him,” Tarrant County Sheriff Dee Anderson said Wednesday.

Earlier this month, a video claiming to show Couch playing beer pong — another potential probation violation — reignited public outrage surrounding the case.

On Tuesday, Couch’s attorneys announced that the teen’s probation officer hasn’t been able to reach him and his mother for several days. Tarrant County’s probation department has ordered authorities to take Couch into custody if they see him.

The district attorney’s office said it is still investigating the beer pong video and declined to comment Wednesday on allegations that he violated probation. It did say, however, that violations could bring up to 10 years in jail.

“It’s one of those times when you hate to say ‘I told you so,’ but I told you so,” the sheriff said. “I knew he was going to end up in more trouble.”

Speculation that Couch and his mother have fled the country to avoid “big-boy jail” has run rampant. Attorneys for Couch claim that neither they nor Couch’s father are aware of the the young man’s whereabouts. The legal team is now refusing to comment further.

Speaking personally for a moment, I cannot imagine that Ethan Couch would find ten years in a Texas prison to be anything besides utterly devastating. His parents have probably made the same calculation. It’s easy to sit here with the Hammer of Internet Justice in my hand and condemn these parents for repeatedly enabling their kid, but I have to wonder just how far I would go to keep my son out of the penitentiary. In that context, fleeing the country doesn’t seem that outrageous.

Drunk driving is one of those felonies for which international extradition is almost nonexistent; however, if the federal government really wants you, they can and will snatch you out of a Spanish airport on the flimsiest pretext and nobody’s going to stop them. Ethan and his mom should probably restrict their travel to South America and the like.

Of course, the whole thing could have been avoided had Ethan treated his probation like something other than a big joke, but doesn’t that just prove that he had “affluenza” after all?

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149 Comments on “Affluenza On The Run...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Head to Cuba!

  • avatar

    If he can survive for 30 years or so, he’ll be imminently qualified to run for President.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    An even handed commentary on the net? Amazing.

    Yes, I believe that his original sentence should have been more severe. Yes, I believe that “affluenza” is a bogus defense. But yes, as a parent I too wonder to what extent I might go to ‘protect’ one of my children.

    Regardless of how messed up he is now, 10 years in a Texas prison is not going to make him any better.

    What it will do is partially satisfy the need for punishment. What it might do is serve as a deterrent for others.

    What it can’t do is undo the damage that was done to the victims of his actions.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Seeing this brat partying like nothing ever happened is doing additional damage to the victims of his actions.

      Punishment isn’t for the sake of the punished.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      While I don’t blame the defense for coming up with a novel defense that actually worked, the fact that this kid didn’t learn from the experience and that his mom is still enabling him shows that they are both still living in a fantasy world.

      Jail will be especially hard for him since he obviously has been raised to be a sociopath and has never heard no before. It won’t be easy for him to get along with people he will no doubt see as inferior to himself, and following the instructions of the guards etc is not going to be easy. I wonder how mom is going to do in jail.

      • 0 avatar
        S2k Chris

        “Jail will be especially hard for him since he obviously has been raised to be a sociopath and has never heard no before. It won’t be easy for him to get along with people he will no doubt see as inferior to himself, and following the instructions of the guards etc is not going to be easy. I wonder how mom is going to do in jail.”

        That’s the least of his worries. It’s more about what people who don’t care about hearing the word “no” will do to him. Also the words “shank” and “rectal tearing”.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        I don’t think the guards are the least of his problems. If this kid is put in the general population and shows any weakness or inability to stand up for himself ( even I’d he gets his arse kicked ) his parents would be wise to invest in some personal lubricant as,he will no doubt end up a box car for a pair of enterprising inmates.

        I’m not sure if being sexually harassed or raped is enough to move you from the general population like say the threat of violence bUT maybe it does after a fashion.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      W”hat it can’t do is undo the damage that was done to the victims of his actions.”

      This is true of every murder. I do not understand the point of stating this obvious fact.

    • 0 avatar
      jdmcomp

      Wrong on all counts, the parents should have been tried also for allowing this to happen. Now at least one will. And that kid needs time where he gets his a** kicked each day, and learn what it is to be human. He and his parents are a pox on society. If I had a son like that I would be the first to turn him in.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        jdmcomp,
        while I agree the kid should have been in jail just like any regular joe, assuming that is what a regular joe would have ended up and the kid is a Fu** idiot and the parents are enablers, you can not control a kids 24/7 unless he is on house arrest with a bracelet ( which I do not know if that is the case here) if he is free to come and go as he likes you can not expect a parent to watch him all the time, even you could not do that w your kid unless you plan on never working another day or ever taking a good night sleep.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      “Regardless of how messed up he is now, 10 years in a Texas prison is not going to make him any better.”

      I have to disagree. I think it would cure his “affluenza” very well.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      “What it might do is serve as a deterrent for others.”

      And that is the whole purpose. Anything else is just psychobabble.

      It may also have enabled the oppressors to fool some chumps into believing “everyone is equal under the law” for just a bit longer. Hence that the dystopia we live in is meaningfully different from other banana republics, in some other way than that our particular tinpots have more/better guns, and “we” are more/better indoctrinated.

    • 0 avatar
      jim brewer

      Actually the TDC isn’t so bad. Texas subscribes to the “prison farm” point of view rather than the “big house” philosophy prevalent Back East. Inherently a better situation.

      That said, I don’t think he will “do well in prison” as the prosecutors there like to say.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      I’m surprised he hasn’t shot himself? That would make for some weird Christmas family gatherings. “And here is my son that got drunk and killed four people. Can I get you another beer?” I think as his dad I’d shot him, actually…

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      One would hope to raise a child where you wouldn’t end up in this situation. If I did, I would be inclined to do what I can but he would still have to face the repercussions of his actions.

  • avatar
    jrhmobile

    Prosecutors only have to get an injunction and freeze all their accounts and assets. Like now.

    That’ll cure a bad case of affluenza. When you starve the rich of their cash, they run like rats and are much easier to catch.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    Good, glad this arrogant prick will finally get what is coming to him. He’ll either finally end up in prison or never be able to return to his home country and always be a felon on the run. I’ve seen how nasty Attorney Generals can be if they really want to get you including go overseas and hunt you down. Guy here in town embezzled millions, fled to Europe to they arrested his wife on BS charges and basically forced him to come out of hiding and be extradited. I can’t believe this idiot got off and still managed to blow it.

  • avatar
    dwford

    We just need to be patient and let karma work its wonders. The Feds will catch this kid, he will lose his probation and end up in jail where he belonged in the first place, and his doting mom will get hers as well for aiding and abetting a fugitive. Justice will be finally served.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Dwford, I agree. Someone or something will get this kid.

      Getting him alive would be the worst that could happen to him. They’ll find him. They found the conspirators of the Paris shootings and that was truly an excellent effort. Finding this kid is not nearly as complicated.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Drunk drivers who kill often receive fairly light punishments. You wouldn’t know that from the press, since we tend to get anecdotes about it (you usually hear about those who are severely punished, but not about those who aren’t), but getting wasted before getting in the car is one of the best ways to get away with murder.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      This is the sad truth. I have had two really close friends die at the hands of a drunk driver. Both instances, the drunk got probation. One of the idiots even had his kids strapped into the car. The only reason why he stopped was that his kids made him pull over because they thought he had hit a deer. The collective good that could possibly come out of that vehicle of genetically impaired will never displace what they took away from the world.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I recommend the .357 solution. Proles will eventually get the message.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I certainly wish someone would shoot this kid in the face.

          He’s on my “People Who Need to Get Shot in the Face” list.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have a couple people on that list too.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Does yours also have that Martin Skreli guy?

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            I’d prefer run over by a motor vehicle. It would be far more karmic.

          • 0 avatar
            formula m

            NoGoYo you sound like you belong in jail. Idiots that use a gun or think it’s acceptable to use a gun to solve their problems are a pathetic excuse for a human being.

            Seriously, unless your a sportsman people who have a personal firearm are pretty much deciding ahead of time they are prepared to murder someone. Sounds more dangerous than a kid playing beer pong to me…

          • 0 avatar
            SOneThreeCoupe

            Whoa there, Formula M.

            That’s a pretty big leap in logic- people who own firearms for self-defense are actually preparing to be murderers?

            I am prepared to kill someone who is trying to kill me but I am completely and totally unable to murder anyone thanks to my system of ethics. If you initiate no force against me, I am your friend. If you initiate force against me, I will respond in kind up to and including deadly force but will do everything in my power to de-escalate the situation.

            Every time someone gets behind the wheel when drunk, they’re pointing a one-ton-plus gun at every innocent on the road. This guy pulled the trigger once and killed four people- I have yet to see a more powerful weapon given to civilians.

            My government thinks that a gun is the way to solve problems. Resisting the payment of a speeding ticket- gun drawn. Resisting the payment of a parking ticket- gun drawn. Resisting the economic hegemony of the US- gun drawn. Just plain on Obama’s crap list- gun drawn.

            Without private firearms for personal protection, the state and the criminals hold a monopoly on use of force. A monopoly is always the result of something unduly influencing a market or a society.

            This kid’s parents should bear some of the brunt of his actions, as it was their actions which set him down this path. This kid, however, is a sociopath and should have never been slapped on the wrist. Prison would be a very strong wake-up call.

      • 0 avatar
        VolandoBajo

        I second what you said, Tresmonos.

        I once worked with a retired Navy chief, when we were both doing IT consulting work. He was one of the most standup guys I ever met.

        I stayed in touch with him after our joint project was finished.

        A few years later, his daughter, who was about twenty, was in a car on a date with a young man who had been drinking, and had a wreck. His daughter was killed, but the young man, whose father was a high-ranking government employee, was unhurt.

        Due to the connections involved, the kid got off with a suspended sentence and I think a 90 day loss of license.

        As I can well imagine, having a 21 year old only child now, it devastated my friend, a man who was tough enough to survive SERE training, and to fly hurricane hunter PBY’s. He moved out to a western state, pretty much away from civilization.

        He was very bitter about how the whole thing had been handled. And I fully understand why.

        Maybe this kid doesn’t need ten years in the slam in a state pen, but he didn’t need to walk either.

        I am a bit hurt that my son wants to move three or four states away to live with a woman who is five years older and has two kids, but that pain is nothing compared to never being able to see him or talk to him again. While I am not happy about his situation, I realize that it is nothing compared to the loss of a child’s life.

        People who cause that to happen should have to pay some kind of a price. At the very least they could have given him a long stretch of house arrest with only travel for school, work, church and/or doctors.

        What this kid got off with is absolutely no deterrent to anyone else.

        • 0 avatar
          jim brewer

          Vehicular homicides can be surprisingly defensible, much more so than a regular DWI.

          For one thing, your defendant is likely to be knocked unconscious. Much better than Miranda for the defendant. No embarrassing field sobriety test on video tape. Blood draw instead of breath tests. Plenty of opportunity for screw ups by medical personnel and chain of custody by the cops.

          Did the crash occur late at night on a weekend? You would be surprised at how many vehicular homicide victims were themselves impaired. No help if it’s a T-bone accident, but if there’s some ambiguity about cause, then you can get an accident reconstructionist and that might help.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      OK, time for some legal distinctions here, none of which make what this steaming little pile of excrement did any less acceptable…

      Murder means you INTENDED to kill someone. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that was not this kid’s intent.

      So, no…he didn’t get away with murder. He got away with vehicular manslaughter.

      But I’ll fully agree that too many people who do this get off way too light. People who do this should do SERIOUS time.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        In many states, killing while DUI can be prosecuted as murder under the felony murder rule.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Interesting, but from a legal standpoint, I’d think of this more as manslaughter, or negligent homicide. The morality is another question.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In some states, killing while DUI can be prosecuted as murder. I’m not making a judgement or expressing a wish, I’m just stating a fact.

            You are apparently unaware of the concept of felony murder. First-degree murder requires intent and premeditation; with felony murder, a killing that occurs while another crime is being committed can be prosecuted as first-degree murder. Some states would include DUI on that list of crimes.

            Example: Bob goes to Abel’s Liquor Store with the intent to steal but not with the intent to kill. However, Bob finds himself unable to escape the liquor store, and gets into a shootout with the cops. A policeman named Cain exchanges gunfire with Bob, and accidentally kills Abel.

            Bob can be convicted of felony murder, even though he didn’t intend to kill Abel and even though Abel was killed by somebody else. The fact that that Bob was committing another crime at that time is enough to establish grounds for first-degree murder.

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Freedmike, in California many of these cases are charged as murders. They are not “felony murder” prosecutions. They are prosecuted as “implied malice” murders. That means you were aware of the grave risk to human life your actions were creating, but did it anyway. It’s like throwing a brick over your shoulder off a 20 story building onto a crowded street, knowing full well there are a bunch of people down there. You may not be trying to kill anyone, but you just don’t give a fk. If that brick lands on someone’s head and kills them, that is an implied malice 2nd degree murder in California and you are looking at 15 to life.

      • 0 avatar
        John Marks

        Felony murder.

        jm

        • 0 avatar
          jim brewer

          It’s called something like “depraved heart” murder in most states. It doesn’t apply to garden-variety vehicular homicide like T-boning a car at a stoplight. More like driving your car the wrong way on a crowded freeway.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    The family’s attorneys know exactly where he is, and what the mom has done to get him there. They may even have counseled them to make tracks after that video surfaced. Right now the game plan is for them (kid and mom) to lay low for awhile, let the media dust settle, then work out a deal with the authorities for a low-profile return to the US. That’s the best they can hope for.

  • avatar
    strafer

    The rich family should have been forced to part with their wealth to be distributed to the victims’ families, since the wealth caused his affluenza.

  • avatar
    DeeDub

    I guess they can stop “investigating” the beer pong video now, as his failure to report to his probation officer is a cut-and-dried probation violation.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    I’m sure I would go pretty far to protect my kid after one big mistake. But after getting just a slap for the first, I’m also sure my warning would be very clear: screw this second chance up, and prison will be the only place you’ll be safe from me. You’ll pray they send you there.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      I found myself “helping” a friend over the last couple years – providing bail, covering bills, etc. I finally realized what I was doing wasn’t actually helping, because each new incident was worse than the last. I finally let responsibility catch up with him. 6 months in jail worked wonders.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Enabling is probably the worst thing you can do for someone who’s that troubled. Unfortunately, you found out the hard way.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          But not doing all you can to help, is probably the most unnatural thing yo can do as a mother….. Which begs the question, where’s his dad in all this?

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            Excellent question. Much research has shown how important fathers are in raising responsible, well-adjusted children. A disproportionate number of unstable, maladjusted psychopaths are raised without a father in the home.

  • avatar
    sctknox

    I know where he could hide .We have thousands of his clone attending Knoxville. You would never notice him. For that matter pick any campus of a big university drop him in .Give him some sort of Japanese car a loud stereo and POOF he vanishes.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    ” his attorney argued that he suffered from “affluenza” — an inability to understand consequences brought on by a life of pampering and kid-glove treatment from his wealthy parents. To nearly everyone’s surprise, it worked, and Couch received nothing more than probation for his actions.”

    Hmm, this is some serious F U logic. The defendant has been a spoiled pampered brat all of his life, so therefore we must administer spoiled pampered punishment, because, poor baby that is all he ever knew.

    Two Americas. What if this kid was from a low income black family? Do ya suppose the would have been slapped a bit harder?

  • avatar
    jerseydevil200

    If he had been a poor black kid and the people he killed were rich and white, he probably would have been shot dead on the site of the accident. Barring that he would have been in jail for the rest of his life in the first place.

    The fact that this defense worked is seriously troubling. I would be looking at the judge and the system that permitted this aberration

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Agree 100%.

      One has to try to propose a solution to prevent this from happening again. Easy regarding this miscreant, jail for life would prevent him from doing it again. Or we could just revert to Middle Eastern justice and blind him. That should stop him from driving.

      But how do we prevent others from doing the same?

      Well one problem is that there is quite obviously one form of justice for the rich and another for the poor.

      A poor person can go to prison for years for robbing a gas station, donut shop or even taking money from a charity box. Or get shot for walking in the wrong neighbourhood at night.

      Someone who is rich can kill 4 people or rob hundreds of their life savings and they get a slap on the wrist.

      First: take driving while impaired much more seriously. But aren’t there still some states that allow for open bottles in vehicles?

      Second: elect judges with a bit of common sense. ‘Affluenza’, come on.

      Third: recent changes in our society which have led to an increased income gap, reduction in the middle class, worship of ‘money’ or ‘celebrity’ have allowed those who are rich to believe that they can do whatever they want and get away with it. When you have Kardashians, etc as role models, what values do you expect young people to have?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Or honestly, just swap the whole corrupt injustice system, along with all those involved in it, out for either nothing or Sharia. Can’t get any worse, and it just might get better. It’s definitely cheaper, and paying nothing for nothing, beats paying something for it. Worth a shot, at least.

    • 0 avatar
      AJ

      You didn’t need to go with the black vs. white thing. He could easily have been a rich asian or from a wealthy Saudi family, or even one of Obama’s daughters would have gotten similar treatment. Justice is always influenced by what someone can afford for defense in every society.

      • 0 avatar
        brn

        JerseyDevil, there’s no reason to believe this is a race issue. By bringing it up, you’re making it worse, not better.

        The acceptance of turning every issue into a race issue is a key factor in the increasing racial divide in this country. It’s moving us in the wrong direction.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          Acknowledging this country denies equal justice to black people isn’t the reason why this country denies equal justice to black people, just as it hasn’t been for 200 years. Not talking about the problem won’t make it go away.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Denying the existence of racism is the new Jim Crow. Don’t mind all of the data that makes it clear that blacks are more likely to receive harsher punishments than similar white defendants — everyone should grin and bear it because poor BRN’s feelings are hurt.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            tonycd, “Not talking about the problem won’t make it go away.”

            There aren’t enough people in America who care.

            Ironically, the only prejudice and bias I have experienced were from my own relatives.

            I am considered a “half-breed” by both my dad’s Portuguese relatives and my mom’s German relatives.

            On my Portuguese side, I cannot wear the ring with the family crest because I’m not pure Portuguese.

            And on my German side my distinctly non-Aryan features of brown eyes and black hair always set me apart at any family gathering.

            Hence my personal efforts at blending in with society rather than setting myself apart from it by constantly whining and crying bias and unfair treatment.

            I bet that people like Don Peebles, Herman Cain and Dr. Ben Carson don’t worry about what other people think about them.

          • 0 avatar
            VolandoBajo

            @HighDesertCat –

            Doubtless you will appreciate this story, given your situation.

            I once dated a really nice, quiet, almost smoldering hot inside a demure package, dark complexioned Italian girl in NYC. Her last name was a common two syllable, ends in a vowel, Italian name. But her first name was Rachel, much more commonly associated with Jewish families, at least in NYC.

            When I asked her why and how she had ended up being named Rachel, when most strict Italian families had strict rules about the order of naming children after ancestors, she said that one of her parents was pure Neopolitano, and the other was pure Calabrese.

            Both families felt that her parents had “married outside their race”. And the two regions had different rules for who the first girl should be named for. So after catching hell from both sides of the family, her parents decided to just give her a name that wasn’t in either family tree, hence Rachel.

            She also said that when she went to family reunions, picnics, holiday dinners, etc., when relatives would come up to her and ask her what she was, she would reply “I’m Calitan’ and Napolibrese”.

            She never let it bother her, but she did think it was funny, as did I.

          • 0 avatar
            dantes_inferno

            @tonycd

            >Acknowledging this country denies equal justice to black people isn’t the reason why this country denies equal justice to black people, just as it hasn’t been for 200 years. Not talking about the problem won’t make it go away.

            The sheer speed of deflector shields deploying everywhere at first mention of that tidbit of information makes the Millenium Falcon look like a Prius dragging an engine block.

  • avatar

    Here is further proof of him breaking his parole:

    http://i.imgur.com/C8hC1DC.jpg

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    That has to be one of the biggest miscarriages of justice I’ve seen in a while.

    I’m very skeptical of mandatory sentencing for many drug related cases, but when you hear things like this, it makes me a strong supporter of the idea for many crimes. Judges make stupid decisions all the time and someone that killed 4 people should never see the light of day.

    I’d honestly like to see that bleeding-heart judge removed so we don’t have more killers with sob stories released to the public.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    So then ;

    Can we begin calling him a ” thug ” now ? .

    I raised a Boy into a Man and he knew right from the jump that if he _ever_ did a messed up thing like this twit did , it wouldn’t diminish my love for him one bit , I’d visit him in jail after I’d dragged his sorry ass to the Police for killing or hurting anyone whilst drunk .

    Guess what? he used to drink WAAAYYYY too much but always made sure to handle his business one way or another and so never hurt/killed anyone , didn’t even wreck his car/moto(s) .

    If you truly LOVE your progeny you’ll do whatever it takes to make sure they don’t get the idea you’ll bail them out no matter what .

    Maybe just -one- year of hard time or super strict local time (do they still do that where you live in the local Pokey for a year , raking the lawns, fixing Patrol cars etc. ?) *might* have straightened this worthless Child out .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Looks like a young W.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Hey, only normal people go to jail.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    You can’t hide from your own character.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Not too much bad booze,
    Just too little good parenting.

    Dude killed 4 people.

    The justice system failed to incarcerate him.

    Now apparently breaks parole and goes on the lam. With the seeming support of his parents.

    Unless son and mom turn up anything but alive with a great explanation, mom and son and possibly dad need to get some serious prison time.

  • avatar
    Astigmatism

    “It’s easy to sit here with the Hammer of Internet Justice in my hand and condemn these parents for repeatedly enabling their kid, but I have to wonder just how far I would go to keep my son out of the penitentiary.”

    YMMV, but I don’t have to wonder whether I’d help my child flee the country to escape prison after killing four people.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Absolutely would not.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        No.

        F**king.

        Way.

        I’m not destroying my life to save my child from the consequences of his behavior. I’ll love him, and support him best I can, but I’m not taking the bullet for his failures.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Absolutely agree with you on this one Corey. Any kid of mine would be on his own. You f’up your life, I will support you, I MIGHT even pay for a great lawyer, and I will visit you in jail, but I will not bail you out of it or help you escape justice.

        Have a lesser but similar situation in my family. My brother has been a total F***up for most of his life, and Mom ALWAYS bailed him out of his legal problems. Paid his bail, paid his fines, even paid the restitution for the guys who’s teeth he knocked out in a bar fight. So he is basically a 38yo child.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Wow.

          I had one of those in my family as well. A cousin who always had one or both of his parents letting him off, making excuses, never forcing him to get it together.

          The best he ever managed was to hold a job for about 6 months at a Lowe’s store, which I think eventually fired him for drug use.

          He’s dead now, made it to 28.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    I got little sympathy. I mean if you either don’t feel enough legitimate remorse on your own for killing four people to change your ways, and if you can’t see how lucky you are to have avoided ten years in prison, you’re basically a lost cause. This kid clearly does legitimately think that either the law is impotent, or that it doesn’t apply to him (which after the initial court ruling it apparently is/doesn’t).

    I could see hiding my kid from a life sentence from a drug conviction, or maybe a BS third-strike conviction, but because they can’t stop drinking after getting a fluke probation sentence after killing four people — sorry.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    “an inability to understand consequences brought on by a life of pampering and kid-glove treatment from his wealthy parents.”

    I think then using this argument, charges should have been brought on both parents for four counts of involuntary manslaughter. Placing blame on very specifically two people, and then letting it go is unacceptable.

    Hey, you owe me 100,000 USD.
    But I only have $12, and it’s Canadian.
    Oh, ok. Never mind.

    No.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      There’s no legal merit to the idea of charging the parents with homicide or manslaughter. That idea isn’t going anywhere.

      There are parental responsibility laws, but they don’t go nearly that far.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Too bad.

        But given the amount of wealth these people have, and the fact that their irresponsibility as parents is now documented by the court, you’d think they would have slapped him with a tracker bracelet.

        Get a DUI, have a house arrest bracelet.
        Kill four people, oh go clean a road. Shame on you.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          He wasn’t an adult at the time of the crime. There have to be good reasons to put a minor in an adult prison.

          But he’s an adult now, and should be treated like one for violating his parole.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      If you are old enough to have a driver’s license, you are not your parent’s responsibility. You are old enough to know right from wrong, and old enough to face the consequences of your actions. I see no reason the parents should have any responsibility for his initial actions.

      Now if they are aiding and abetting, very different story. Throw the book at them, lock them up, toss the key.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        My main issue was the whole “letting off” of responsibility. Four people are dead; someone is to blame.

        The lawyer successfully argued it was his parent’s fault. Okay, but now they don’t get in trouble for it.

        That’s my main point, leaving the blame to vaporize without accurate accounting for it. It’s doesn’t balance on the justice ledger.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Rule of Law is for the little people.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Agreed. If the defence hinged on it being his parent’s fault then go after the parents. If not criminally then by civil means i.e. take the verdict and sue them for the “value” of those four lost lives.

          ““affluenza” — an inability to understand consequences brought on by a life of pampering and kid-glove treatment from his wealthy parents.”

          If wealth is touted as the route cause then go after the wealth.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The age of majority in the United States is 18, irrespective of whether one has a driver license.

        The parents can’t be charged with murder or manslaughter in these instances, but they can be made culpable for some sort of lesser crime related to parental responsibility. It is also possible to sue them.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          My point is that if you are old enough to drive, you are old enough to have some level of personal responsibility, regardless of what the “age of majority” is. And 18 doesn’t mean much, as children much younger than 16 have been tried and convicted as adults in the US. All 18 means is that you are *definitely* being tried as an adult.

          The whole parental responsibility thing varies wildly by jurisdiction – and I don’t agree with it even existing as a thing (just my opinion, you are welcome to yours). I agree, you can sue the parents civilly, maybe. Might even win. Might not. These folks are supposedly wealthy, they can probably afford better lawyers than the victims. And even if you win, good luck collecting on the judgment from individuals.

          I would be surprised if he could not have been indicted under felony murder laws in TX. But he wasn’t, because prosecutors have wide discretion in what they charge you with. And as has been discussed, for a first offence, the standard for killing someone while drunk is vehicular manslaughter, and in most cases with a slap on the wrist. But ultimately we have many different jurisdictions with widely varying laws. And widely varying prosecutors and judges even within a single jurisdiction.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            In Texas, parents can be assigned civil liability for their childrens’ transgressions.

            That isn’t unusual. You might not like it, but that’s how it is.

            On the other hand, those who are screaming for blood should remember that this offense was committed when he was a minor. Minors are not adults, nor should they be treated as adults most of the time.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Sure, you can sue them in TX. But good luck winning the case, then even more good luck collecting a civil judgment against individuals. A jury could award the victims millions and they would likely never see a penny of it. It is a fairly useless law.

            While I never ended up practicing law (fell into IT and never left), I did intern on both sides in law school. I have reasonable knowledge of how this game is played in the real world.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          There can be exceptions to age of majority. Emancipated minors are one example. The defence of “affluenza” was to strip the youth of personal responsibility. Since he allegedly cannot comprehend the seriousness of his actions then he cannot be tried as an adult. If one can understand the fact that one’s actions are wrong i.e. drunk driving then age of majority does not count. Minors are frequently tried as adults. Minors can also give consent to surgery if they can comprehend the positive and negative consequences of surgery.

      • 0 avatar
        carlisimo

        I have a problem with giving minors the legal responsibilities of adulthood but not all of the rights. You can’t vote, work full time, get married (without parental permission), or open a bank account until you’re 18. Not to mention buy alcohol, but that’s already decoupled from legal adulthood.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    “In that context, fleeing the country doesn’t seem that outrageous.”

    Spoken as the father of an adorable little kid. We’re hard wired to want to protect our children. But kids don’t stay adorable and little forever – at some point they grow up, and sometimes their bad behavior becomes toxic, and can destroy entire families. I can tell you from experience: there ARE boundaries no child should be able to cross. And when they do, you have every right and reason to stop protecting them.

    So, yes, in this case, fleeing the country would be outrageous as hell. If that’s the case, then this mother has allowed this horrid kid to destroy not only his life, but hers too. That kind of lunacy serves no one, especially the kid, who desperately needs some boundaries on his behavior.

  • avatar
    matador

    If I had a son or daughter who killed four people by DUI, the first thing I’d do is welcome them into my house. After they were asleep, the second thing I’d do would be to call the police.

    You killed people. That can’t be undone. 10 years in jail for the deaths of 4 innocent people is a lenient sentence.

    I’d be more in favor of hard labor- something I doubt this kid has ever seen.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I agree fully. After his sentence is done, he’s still a young man and can live his life, assuming he turns it around while in stir (which some people do). Or he’ll end up in jail again.

      His choice.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I’m actually conflicted about this. He was what, 16 at the time of the original act? Assuming he has an otherwise clean record, is any purpose served by locking him up for a decade and basically ruining the rest of his life? It doesn’t bring those dead people back. It was a terrible thing, and showed an extreme lack of judgment, but 16yos are by definition lacking in judgment in many cases. There was no intent to hurt anyone. So I think I am mostly OK with no jail time, just serious probation and counseling. But do it again (or break probation) and the hammer drops. I think everyone should get a second chance, but don’t squander it. This kid has squandered his second chance.

      And of course, I think this should be the same regardless of color or class. But sadly the white kid from the suburbs is going to get a much better deal than a brown kid from the ‘hood.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Assuming he has an otherwise clean record, is any purpose served by locking him up for a decade and basically ruining the rest of his life?”

        I’d start by this: it keeps this public menace off the roads.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          But at the time of the original trial, did we know he was a public menace? He was a 16yo kid who got drunk and drove and killed/injured a bunch of people. Baring evidence of a history of such actions, I’m inclined to cut him some slack, despite the obnoxious “Affluenza” defense. I’d cut a poor black kid the same slack.

          At THIS time, with his having treated the whole thing as a joke, and now possibly fled the country with the help of his parents, it is time to drop the hammer on him (and them, for aiding and abetting, if you can prove). I believe in second chances, but you only get ONE.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            I’d put vehicular manslaughter in the ‘public menace’ category even without the phantom defense his lawyer fielded.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I’m with you on that one, krhodes. We gain little locking away minors who could be rehabilitated, as much as we’d like to see someone pay dearly for the harm they caused others in their irresponsibility. But now that generosity is entirely gone.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    What a bunch of hypocrites we are. And I will not exclude myself from this. There are dozens if not hundreds of professional athletes who have committed heinous crimes, including manslaughter, vehicular homicide, rape/sexual assault, etc who have gotten off with little more than a slap on the wrist and who still receive or have received millions of dollars for playing a game and still are cheered/revered by thousands.

    How can we rationalize that? Shouldn’t they have to spend hard time in jail?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I want them to go to jail too.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I agree. If you do something illegal, you should be prosecuted- wealth, color, creed, and nationality shouldn’t allow you a free pass.

        You do something like murder or assault- you should go to jail.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I mostly agree. BUT, I don’t think one moment of stupidity without intent should ruin your life, even if it ruins others. Especially if you are just a dumb kid. Very different situation than someone who does something with intent as a full-fledged adult. Or even with intent as a kid.

          Because while it might satisfy our innate desire for justice, it doesn’t bring them back. Now do it again, and you won’t see daylight for decades. AS I said in my previous comment, if you seem like a decent person otherwise, you get ONE second chance – don’t squander it.

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Me too, bball. Starting with Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger. I’m tired of being told I should admire thugs as heroes because they were rich/famous/skilled-with-ball enough that they should escape having to answer for their behavior like “everybody else” (this kid and other rich people obviously excepted).

    • 0 avatar
      Raven

      Good Point – like Bruce Jenner.

      http://pagesix.com/2015/02/13/bruce-jenner-blames-fatal-accident-on-driver-who-was-killed/

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Aurthur Daily – I do not condone the actions of anyone who causes harm to others based upon what they do or based upon their wealth.

      Wrong is wrong.

      BUT….Jail isn’t always an effective deterrent nor is it always the best form of retribution.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      I’m no hypocrite. I’d put them all down.

  • avatar
    JDM_CU4

    Money buys everything nowadays… that’s the ugly truth

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      At what point in human history did it not? I would say justice is a lot more equal today than in any time in history, despite what the media would have you think. We have our race/class issues today, but nothing like days past when you could LITERALLY buy your way out of anything if you were wealthy enough.

      • 0 avatar
        jkross22

        What makes you think you can’t literally buy your way out of anything today? See title of this article.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I didn’t say you can’t. But it is at least somewhat harder. The kid DID go to trial after all, and get probation – in the past absolutely nothing would have happened to the son of rich folks who killed someone. For example, see Ted Kennedy as a famous and fairly recent example!

          And in particular – before the Internet era, who would have even known about this kid outside of a few people reading the local paper in his area? Nor would he have likely been caught breaking probation prior to the advent of social media. It’s a whole new world.

  • avatar
    Von

    And what lengths would you go to if you were the parent of one of the people that got killed because of his actions?

  • avatar
    mikey

    We got very rich kid locked up here n Ontario. He is awaiting trial. Ran a stop sign, and killed 3 kids and grampa. Blew twice the limit. He will plea bargain it out. If he wasn’t rich ?? 5 years in min security, be out in 3. This dude ?…Time served.

    If I was the judge??? He would never see the light of day.

  • avatar
    George B

    If Ethan Couch successfully flees the country, good riddance. That way my taxes don’t have to pay to house him. His Mom leaving too is a bonus.

  • avatar
    Raven

    Not sure which is more repulsive. The fact that they have now given a medical term for “Spoiled Brat” probably to enable some Federal funding for further study at some Ivy League College, or that this turds Judge was probably a political appointment by some politician who his parents had contributed to…follow the money trail.

    Best guess as no one can run forever. They’re buying some time to work out a 2nd plea deal with the District Attorney….all the while staying in a 5 star Hotel with hot massages, Room service, Jacuzzi, Sauna and complimentary mints on the pillow every night.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    ” Money buys everything nowadays… that’s the ugly truth ”

    Well almost :

    Clearly neither class nor good taste .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CWiNyxPUEAAxJH0.png

    what an absolute nozzle

    send the Dog after him… then to a federal pound him in the azz prison

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    “Drunk driving is one of those felonies for which international extradition is almost nonexistent…”

    In 2001, a drunk jackass named Fred Russell killed three WSU students while attempting to pass a line of vehicles. Days before he was to appear at a pretrial hearing, he fled the country for Ireland (w/the help of family members). Per the letter he wrote before fleeing, “I left because I had no choice. Since the first day after the tragic accident, horrible things have been printed about me. Now people are so enraged that they would rather see me dead than receive a fair trial. I maintain my innocence. But my life has been repeatedly threatened, so I cannot stay.”

    Ultimately, the U.S. Marshals Service found him working as a security guard at a Dublin lingerie shop, where he had been employed for four years. He was extradited (without any funny business) and served seven years of a 14-year sentence.

    Ironically enough, his father was the dean of the criminal justice department at WSU when his son committed his crimes.

    More info:

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/article26278789.html

    http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/russell-sentenced-to-14-years-in-prison-for-accident-that-killed-three-wsu-students/

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/25738454/ns/dateline_nbc-crime_reports/t/death-palouse/

  • avatar
    raincoconuts

    This guy got away with murder because he was a rich pale kid? Wow!
    Imagine what the families and friends of those he mowed down must be going through. If he is afflicted with rich kid disease, he needs an old fashioned cure-jail time for the lives he destroyed.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Agreed raincoconuts. Punishment and general deterrence. It is basic and true.

      When I hear people say, “Nothing will bring back those who were killed,” it really turns my stomach. Yeah, time to turn the page on them. They are, after all, dead.

      Puke.

      The killer is responsible for his own rehab.

  • avatar
    VolandoBajo

    @formula m

    Owning a gun does not in any way imply that the owner has pretty much made up their mind to murder some one.

    All that can logically be concluded if the gun is not strictly for sport shooting or hunting is that the owner is prepared to shoot, and possibly kill (not necessarily murder) someone, should such a step be necessary for self defense or the defense of an innocent third party.

    A handgun (357 Dan Wesson) once saved my life…three drunk and drugged young men on an icy road at night, in a small pickup, all over three lanes on an almost deserted interstate…cut me off driving home from a fourteen hour work day. I honked my horn when they cut in on me for no discernible reason, whereupon they spent the next ten or fifteen minutes trying to run me off the road.

    I ended up in pulling into the parking lot of an all night convenience store, and hurried inside to get them to call for police assistance.

    The three hotheads came in about ten or fifteen seconds behind me, ready to work me over with a pipe wrench, a knife and I didn’t catch what the third was holding.

    As they approached, I drew my 357 and the “leader” of the pack shouted to the guy nearest me that it wasn’t loaded…a mistake or deliberate lie on his part.

    When the nearest guy stepped closer, the thought crossed my mind that as f’ed up as they were, that they were somebody’s brother or son, and that I had time to fire off at least one warning shot before I would need to drill anyone to protect myself.

    When I cranked off a shot into the terrazzo (hard marble) floor right between me and the nearest guy, they looked genuinely surprised to discover that I wasn’t playing, and headed for the door. Right behind them two plainclothes cops came in, while I still had my gun in my hand. I surrendered it and told them what had happened.

    They caught the three guys. Ultimately I got my gun back. The instigator got ninety days. I declined to press charges against the other two, as they had mostly just stood around watching what the guy who was trying to egg them on tried to get me to take a fall.

    I never intended to murder anyone, but as a former Marine, I clearly would have no problem taking someone else’s life if they were trying to take mine or an innocent person’s.

    After I remarried, and our son was born, I got rid of my guns, because my wife was scared of them being in the house, so these days I rely on my hand to hand combat training, plus a nice “carry” lockback knife to provide whatever assistance I might need.

    I am not a hothead, don’t try to throw my weight around, and don’t impair myself for relaxation or enjoyment. So I consider that having the means to defend myself, whatever those means might be, are just that…a means of defending myself should it become necessary.

    Better to be judged by twelve, than to be carried by six.

    Had I not had that firearm that night, I never would have had close to a quarter century with the love of my life, and we would never have had our son, who is as fine and goodhearted a young man as I have ever seen.

    Should it have been necessary to ice one or all of those three hoodlums, there is no moral calculus you can come up with that would convince me that my life, my marriage and our son should have been sacrificed in order for three drunken and drugged hotheads to be able to go on a rage.

    I am glad that if I had to go through something like that, it was in a Southern state with an open carry law, and where there was not an automatic presumption that the user of a firearm was the instigator.

    If carrying a firearm meant that you had already decided to “murder” someone under certain circumstances, I would have iced the nearest guy the minute he made a move to come at me, and taken the other two out right behind him unless they had turned their backs and were fleeing.

    All you can conclude about a person who owns a firearm is that they might be willing to use it for self-defense. It might be used otherwise, but ownership per se is NOT evidence of a premeditated acceptance of murdering anyone.

    Your statement is both narrow-minded and illogical. And the glib acceptance of such an assertion is what inhibits so many people from being certain that they can defend themselves and/or their loved ones.

    Gun laws may help put away criminals who commit crimes using them, but they are not a deterrent to criminals before they commit a crime. If a criminal is willing to rob and/or kill, they will be willing to own an illegal firearm as well.

    And outlawing guns only means that outlaws/criminals can be more readily assured that they can dominate innocent civilians by the use of an illegal firearm, when the legal ownership of guns by ordinary citizens is banned.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      That sounds scary but it sounds to me like the difference in you shooting people or not depends on your mood.

      I can be a hothead, I have thrown my weight around, I do impair myself for relaxation and enjoyment. What’s your point?

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I just read that the little sh!t and his mother got busted in Puerto Vallarta.

    No more excuses.

    Hard time!

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