One of the most talked about cases of 2015; a case which continues to draw the attention of both the news media and public into early 2016 is the notorious case of “affluenza” teen Ethan Couch and his mother Tonya Couch. In December 2013, Ethan Anthony Couch was given 10 years probation in Juvenile Court on four counts of intoxication manslaughter at the age of 16 for recklessly driving drunk on June 15, 2013 in Burleson, Texas. What makes this case unique is that Ethan Couch was also ordered to therapy at a long-term in-patient facility, after his attorneys successfully argued that Ethan suffered from a condition referred to as “affluenza” and recommended that Ethan needed rehabilitation instead of prison time.
Ethan Couch Intoxication Manslaughter Car Accident
On the night of June 15, 2013, Ethan was illegally driving on a restricted license when as a result of speeding he lost control and rammed into a group of people standing near an SUV that had subsequently broken down. Ethan also struck a parked vehicle that had stopped to offer assistance. A total of four people were killed in the accident, two suffered serious bodily injury and an additional nine others were injured. Couch had a blood alcohol reading of 0.24, three times the legal limit for adult drivers in the state of Texas along with testing positive for valium.
Affluenza Defense Definition
Tarrant County Prosecutors were set on seeking the maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment when G. Dick Miller, a psychologist hired as an expert witness for the defense, successfully argued that Ethan was a product of “affluenza” and was unable to understand right from wrong because his parents had essentially taught him that wealth buys privilege. Couch’s sentencing drew a flurry of public outrage and emotional and angry debates which continued into early December 2015, as the public tried to come to terms with a new set of claims made on Twitter.
Probation Violation Warrant
On December 2nd 2015, a Twitter user posted a video with a caption that stated Couch was in direct violation of his terms of probation. The video shows a group of young people, one of whom appears to be Ethan Couch, playing a game called beer pong (which involves the use of alcohol) at a party. This type of conduct is in violation of Couch’s 10 year probation if it could be proven that alcohol was involved. The consequences that Couch could potentially face include re-sentencing which could mean the maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
Fugitive on the Run
On December 11th, 2015, a warrant was issued for Ethan’s arrest after his probation officer was unsuccessful in his attempts to reach him. On December 18th, 2015 Ethan Couch and his mother Tonya were reported as missing. A fugitive hunt for Couch turned into a federal matter when the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI and other agencies joined in the hunt for Ethan and his mother who it was believed had left the county. On December 28th, 2015, Couch and his mother were discovered and arrested in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Both were transferred to immigration offices in Guadalajara for deportation back to the United States. Ethan Couch successfully won a delay in his deportation, and was transported to a detention center in Mexico City where he currently remains. His mother Tonya Couch was returned to the United States and on January 12th, 2016 was released from jail after posting bond.
Experienced Lawyers & Attorneys Offering Expert Legal Representation in Criminal & Civil Cases in Houston, Conroe, Galveston, Sugar Land & the Great State of Texas
While this case is extreme in its nature, it does remind us that everyone, regardless of wealth, social status or any other circumstance should be entitled to fair and legal representation. At Dyer & Libby Law Firm, our experienced attorneys and legal assistants will ensure that your case is awarded the legal opportunities that you are entitled to under the law. Contact our offices and speak with a knowledgeable representative about your pressing legal matters today.