Ethan Couch and His Case of Affluenza


Did you hear about the spoiled brat who killed a bunch of people and gets to go to a place that sounds a lot like a spa instead of prison?

Let me catch you up to speed in case you haven't seen his smug little face on the news. There's a kid in Texas named Ethan Couch. He's 16 years old. His daddy is the owner and CEO of a sheet metal company. I don't know what his mom does, but I'm guessing that parenting isn't on the list. Anyway, one night Ethan was home without any parental supervision and he decided to hit the local Wal-Mart and steal some beer. He got shit faced and then went for a joy ride with a bunch of his buddies in a truck owned by his daddy's company. Ethan was behind the wheel. He didn't get too far from his house when he plowed into four people who were trying to change a tire on the side of the road - killing them all. He was going 70 miles an hour in a 40 mph zone and his blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit (if he were over 21 and allowed to drink, that is). One of his buddies who was riding in the bed of the truck was thrown out on his head and he's been in a vegetative state ever since.

Horrendous, right? You would think "Pack your bags, Ethan, you're going to prison for the rest of your life. I hope you're ready to be someone's bitch, because you've got a real purty mouth."

Well, if you thought that you'd be wrong.

The judge decided that instead of sending Ethan to prison for 20 years like the prosecution asked, society would be better off with Ethan in a $450,000 a year alcohol rehab facility in California (paid for by daddy, of course) and a 10 year probation.

Ethan got off so easy, because his defense team came up with one of the most bullshit defenses I've ever heard: Ethan suffers from "affluenza." Haven't you heard of "affluenza"? Well, apparently it's a disease that's affecting the wealthy and there's no known cure - except a stay in a $450,000 a year rehab facility where you can learn to cook, ride horses, and do yoga. I don't know about you, but I could use a good bout of affluenza, because that sounds amazing.

This is the most fucked up thing I've ever heard. Affluenza is a completely made up "condition" that is for the privileged and pampered. You can only claim you've got affluenza and everyone would be better off if you went to rehab instead of prison if your daddy can foot the bill. The rest of us who don't have wealthy parents who can't pay? We get prison time.

The defense argued that Ethan can't be held responsible, because he was raised with excess and was never taught that his actions have consequences. According to his defense, Ethan was given too much by his parents and never had any discipline. That sounds about right when you consider this little shit has already had two previous run ins with the law, including one when he was 15 and he was found passed out in a pickup truck with a nearly naked 14-year-old girl. He got off with a ticket for that one.

So, let me see if I can sort this out:

Underage Ethan steals beer, gets drunk, and mows down people at 70 mph. A regular person in this situation would be sent to prison for 20 years, but not Ethan. He can't be held responsible for his egregious actions because he's never been held responsible for his actions. So, instead of prison he must go to a fancy rehab facility with other rich spoiled brats where he can think long and hard about what he did while he's taking cooking lessons??

My head just exploded trying to figure that one out. The logic behind this decision is astounding.

Tell your kids "No." The only real cure for affluenza.

Can you imagine being the family of the victims and hearing this ridiculous rationale? To let Ethan off with such a light punishment is acting as if these four lives are worthless. There was 24-year-old Breanna Mitchell, whose car had broken down on the side of the road. She needed help and so Hollie Boyles and her 21-year-old daughter Shelby, who lived nearby came to help her. Then Brian Jennings, a youth pastor who was driving by stopped to help the women. All four of these people went out that night never thinking for a moment that some drunken kid would come along and kill them. All four of these people had loved ones and family sitting at home wondering where they might be. Never once did it cross their minds that a stupid kid had run them all down. I can't even imagine the sorrow and rage and frustration those families must feel now when they know that Ethan will spend the next year in a posh rehab facility.

Look, I get it. I'm a mother with a son. I can understand that Ethan Couch's parents want to protect him. This is their child. Prison is a terrible place and no one would want to send their teenage son there. But. Ethan has done a terrible thing. And this isn't his first offense. He should not be exempt just because he's privileged. If this were my child, I would be devastated - not as devastated as those who lost their loved ones - but devastated nonetheless. But no matter how upset I am, I would know that my son needs to be punished and I wouldn't let my expensive defense attorneys make up a foolish defense for him. It's offensive to the victims who lost their lives.

This is just one more example of how the rich never have to pay for their actions. There are countless stories out there, like the investment banker who ran over a bicyclist and didn't have to do any time, after he left the scene of the crime and didn't call the police, but instead called Mercedes Benz to come and up pick up his car that the stupid bicyclist had damaged. They didn't put him in prison because that might have hurt his source of vital income, unlike the guy who works at McDonald's and hit a pedestrian and went straight to jail without even telling his shift manager. The investment banker guy manages $1 billion of rich people's money - thus he's a job creator or a wealth creator or whatever new stupid nickname we're giving the rich these days and he's important and we need him working. The McDonald's guys makes fries - he can take his skills to prison. This is such fucking bullshit!

I'm not Pollyanna. I realize that we live in a corrupt society where the rich get richer and they get special privileges because of their wealth, but Ethan Couch and his parents are in a league all of their own. This story just makes me sick and furious. I'm so fed up with these kinds of stories. The more I read about Ethan Couch and his past and now his future, the more I want to scream and yell. This kid is a waste of space. He's damaged goods. Ethan doesn't deserve a year in a rehab facility where he can ride horses and have intensive therapy. This is a kid who should be breaking rocks in a quarry - with his worthless excuse for parents right beside him. His parents have ruined him for society. Of course they are the ones to blame for enabling Ethan, but he shouldn't get off that easy. He's to blame too. I don't care how much you've been given in your life there is still a little voice inside of everyone that tells them it's wrong to steal, it's wrong to drink and drive, and most importantly, it's wrong to kill someone. But I guess when you're super rich like Ethan you don't have to listen to that little voice, because you know that your parents will buy your way out of any problem you get yourself into - even if your problem is that you killed four people.

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41 comments:

DrNic said...

DISCLAIMER: I AM IN NO WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM EXCUSING WHAT HE DID. I AM GIVING AN INSIGHT INTO THE TEXAS LEGAL SYSTEM

My DH is an attorney here in TX and has seen many times that someone with a huge egregious offense gets probation. Why? Because, with this kid's record, what are the chances that he won't violate his probation in 10 years? Almost nil. So WHEN he violates his probation, he automatically gets (I think) the maximum amount of prison time, unquestioned. So while I think it's absolutely ridiculous that he got such a frigging light sentence, let's all rejoice that he will likely be in prison within the next couple of years, and for a much longer time than his parents would have plea bargained and settled for.

smartyshorts said...

When I first heard about this story, I thought "No way can this be real. It has to be a parody on TheOnion.com. But it is real and we are all the poorer for it. Since his parents never taught him right from wrong, or held him accountable for his actions I guess the solution to killing four people would be for the justice system to...do the same? I hope that judge got a powerball sized payout, or maybe a job "created" for her. maybe the crushing weight of the guilt from the part SHE played in this will send her to an expensive rehab too!

Tristan said...

Don't blame the rich. Don't blame the lawyer. Blame the judge. He's the corrupt one who let this slide. Until we start voting people in, not based on their multi-million dollar ad campaigns and political affiliations, but by the person then we're screwed and the corrupt will continue to garner power. The rich set up ad campaigns to disparage the poor, including the incredibly hard working poor, so that we tear apart each other and forget the true thieves. We listen to news stations bought and paid for by the rich. Impartial news? Not by those companies(Fox, CBS, etc..). We need to find people who are willing to fight for the people, not their pocket books. We need to learn to live without all the cool gadgets and be able to say no to the big business we support do abuse us. This is not about political party either so don't make it about that. They're all corrupt. And the battle needs to be won not by accepting division, but by standing together and refusing the corruption in the upper echelons of society. They have the power and we have to take it back until every man, woman, and child is equal. And the US is a place where anyone can rise and anyone can be held accountable.

Unknown said...

Any chance the dead people's family can sue the brat's parents for not doing their jobs and afflicting this child with a "disorder? " I mean, since the judge agreed that's the reason why he did this, and the known cause is bad parenting. ..maybe a new civil precedent should be set here.

Unknown said...

So potentioaly one or more people may die from his stupidity? What killing 4 and seriously injuring another doesn't cross the line in Texas? Smh...

Unknown said...

They were the one who did this to him. Why not?? Like I tell my kids there is a consequence to every action, you need to choose your actions wisely.

Michelle Grewe said...

I think if I were the kid's parent, I'd be pleaing with the judge for military school. I've known wealthy parents to do that. I served with a guy who was 19 years old, alcoholic, in the military because he got in trouble with alcohol and his parents made him join. He was miserable, but he took his shot of reality straight up with no chaser.

DrNic said...

I absolutely agree with you. I just know my hubby has witnessed more than one deplorable person go on probation for horrible crimes and that is the judges' reasoning. He hates it too, which is why he has opted to step out of the legal field.

Jensational said...

THANK YOU TWILIGHT!! I am so fucking sick and tired of people bitching about rich people and all their money! Whah whah whah! I am not rich at all and make way less that $100k a year but even I know that being rich had SHIT to do with this! This judge that everyone is mad at is a freakin HUGE liberal activist judge and that is a fact. I know this because I live in Fort Worth and I'm very familiar with this case. She has always been lenient on those who break the law so instead of blaming it on the rich, blame it on activist judges who are just as guilty for not making people pay the price of their crimes and giving them a slap on the wrist! It's the judges that need to be disbarred for this kind of thing, not the people that earn their money and are able to pay for a badass attorney ( and you have to admit, as dickish as the attorney is, he's a badass for pulling off this win) that was able to get their son free. Lawyer did his job, the judge DID NOT!

Jensational said...

because then you get into the dangerous territory of letting the state take away parental rights and take charge of the raising of your kids. You cannot always hold the parents to blame for things like this: lots of parents are going through alcohol and drug issues with their teens that do everything they can think of to get help for their kids but it just doesn't work. How can you hold parents responsible for teen kids that just refuse to follow laws and authority? Do you remember being a teen? Could your parents control everything you did? Hell no, LOL. These parents may not have been the best but you cannot hold parents completely responsible for everything that teen does - how else are teens going to learn from their mistakes? This kid should be in jail - not the parents.

The Cornfed Feminist said...

The only possible thing I can think of that makes this any better is victims suing for damages. By blaming the parents is the judge making it possible for the families of the victims to sue for more? I don't know how any of that works, but that is the only acceptable reason for this decision, in my mind.

archmama4 said...

If the description of Affluenza is this: "The defense argued that Ethan can't be held responsible, because he was raised with excess and was never taught that his actions have consequences. According to his defense, Ethan was given too much by his parents and never had any discipline" then it seems pretty clear cut that the parents are guilty. They should be the ones on trial, facing criminal charges. Parenting in a way that damages your child to the point that they end up hurting themselves or others... don't we call that child abuse?

fishducky said...

Any way you look at it, this decision is UNBELIEVABLE!!

Anonymous said...

When I heard about this case I was sick. I am angriest at the judge who imposed such a ridiculous and soft sentence. But I have plenty of anger for this kid and his parents. The kid was old enough to know right from wrong and apparently had not had decent parenting in a long long time. I heard that there is an online petition to have the judge investigated/fired. Folks should take a look at it and sign it. Since this kid is minor his parents are hopefully responsible for any damages awarded in a civil lawsuit. I hope that the victim's families take them to the cleaners!

KCmomof2 said...

Would definitely like to see if there is a civil case in the works. If Ethan and his parents have to pay restitution every month for the rest of their lives there might be some measure of justice. More than jail time making him write a check for the rest of his life might be the only thing that keeps him on the straight and narrow.

Unknown said...

While I agree partially with what Jensational says, a woman successfully sued McDonald's b/c she spilled coffee on herself and it was hot. So, it's no stretch for the victims' families to sue in civil court for damages-full cost of the funeral, loss of wages, etc. This isn't about a teen rebelling against their parents and breaking rules. The child had no rules, that was the basis of his defense. So, IMO, the families should sue the parents of this child.

Unknown said...

Can you imagine a poor child trying this? Even for something small. "The defendant has no father, his mother is on drugs. He has no rules and has never been taught that his consequences have actions. In fact, his mother taught him that it was right to steal, like Robin Hood." That defense would be laughed out of the courtroom and that kid would get the max jail time.

Maybee said...

With this reasoning, I say tongue in cheek..If this killer would have gotten a girl PG. would his parents be responsible for the child support. Not keeping a tighter reign on his young penis....This is nuts and my heart is heavy for the FOUR really FOUR families that have to feel their loved ones lives were less important than his parents, parenting skills...there is no way to make this even sound right when commenting about it...Recall the judge.

MissMandy said...

You should really research the Mcdonald's coffee case a little bit more. Mcdonald's was knowingly brewing their coffee at unsafe temps, and it gave the elderly woman 3rd degree burns. THAT is why she won that case

Unknown said...

Can't.Even.
Some people just leak stupid.
and then they reproduce apparently.
it's an epidemic.

hill said...

it never ceases to amaze me...the judge should have said either the parents or the kid goes to jail--their pick.

hill said...

I definitely agree that parents can't be held responsible all the time for what their kids do--but allowing your lawyers to use "affluenza" as a defense for your son (regardless how desperate you are to help him) is insult upon injury to the victims and in my opinion is reflective of how their family ended up in this predicament in the first place. I don't know them personally, but if your willing to admit that your son needs to be exempt due to affluenza (lack of good parenting due to giving no consequences), then they should take all that comes with it including being accountable and serve for their son or allow him to serve time. I think in this particular case, that would be justice

Unknown said...

How ironic that that shit judge is allowing his "affluenza" to continue. Instead of getting the punishment he deserves he is taught, yet again, that money can get you out of any sticky situation. Blegh.

Emily Bemily said...

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2013/12/if_this_rich_kid_suffers_from_affluenza_we_ve_all_got_negrobetes.html

If being rich is an excuse, then being poor should be an excuse too...

Erin DuPre said...

I agree with hill. The parents are adults who are responsible for their underage son. If the "affluenza" defense got Ethan off the hook, it should have put his parents on it. Otherwise there is no justice for the people who died.

Unknown said...

This is shameful. I also wrote a post about it. America needs to uphold our morals, or what are we?

http://ottograph.blogspot.com/2013/12/a-serious-case-of-affluenza.html

SDJaye said...

If I were the attorney, the parents, the judge, I would be have a sore neck from looking over my shoulder. I know it's silly to think they may have trouble sleeping...

This is the type of situation that creates vigilantes.
Unbelievable.

hill said...

"don't blame the lawyer, blame the judge" how true how true

Autumn Cabral said...

If the probation is strict enough, and followed up upon by the PO's which, I bet it will be considering his age and the egregious nature of his crime, then hopefully we won't have to wait too long.

Unknown said...

with any luck, the families of the victims will sue the sh!t out of Ethan's family. there will undoubtedly be a civil suit, if one hasn't been filed already.

JMc said...

So let me get this straight....he was never disciplined so it's not his fault and as punishment they are handing out probation and time in a ritzy rehab. Again is that not another example of him not getting disciplined again. I feel so bad for the families of the 4 people stopped to change a tire. Justice has not been served.

Unknown said...

So this kid isn't punished because he hasn't been punished before...

Unknown said...

Sickening!

Just another Jen said...

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/woes-texas-affluenza-boy-article-1.1550043

Lets hope these families get everything they want and more from this POS

Carrie - ASassyRedhead.com said...

The ONLY one screwing this one is the judge. And here in Texas, there have been quite a few situations like this where those with money or in power are set free with a pat on the hand.

Down here, we have rich young girls driving drunk/killing and getting off, we have district attorneys driving drunk/berating law enforcement and getting off, and now a rich young boy driving drunk/killing and getting off.

We're headed down the wrong path and something has to change.

Unknown said...

Exactly! Yes, those parents paid their attorney to protect their son, so he pulled some ridiculous crap out of his ass, threw it at this moron judge and hoped that it would stick. I quote Liar Liar “I manipulated the system! Just because you bought it, doesn't mean I’m right. It’s a technicality!”

The decision maker here wasn't the attorney's, or the rich parents', it was the judge's decision. People seem to forget that court decisions don’t just manifest out of thin air. They are decided upon by one person, and one person ONLY. The Judge.

http://corporatecheerios.blogspot.com

Drain Bramage and Bluffy Funnies said...

I have to agree with Rebecca here actually. Part of the problem with our society today is the fact that no one accepts responsibility for their own actions anymore. While I do think in a sense if his parents went along with that BS excuse they should be liable in some fashion, if the parents are the only ones getting punished for their child's actions the child isn't learning anything from the experience, or that there are consequences for our actions.

It may, however, potentially wake some parents up and actually hold their children responsible and start actually teaching them their actions have consequences, so I don't know. And on the other hand, holding parents responsible for every mistake their child makes isn't really right either... to a point.

Either way, the system is out of control. Having the right to a defense attorney started off as being a way of protecting people and ensuring mainly that their rights were not violated... and it's been corrupted to the point where now the main goal is not to protect your rights, but to get you out of your charges and away from responsibility regardless of whether or not you're guilty. If you're guilty, you need to face the consequences, period. There's no way I could be a defense attorney and take a case where I KNEW the person was guilty and I was being made to get them out of facing penalty... no way.

Unknown said...

Should be bloody more of an excuse for some crimes e.g. stealing why should a rich kid steal? Ugh this world is f**** up

JenKap said...

Ten years ago my child was killed by a drunk driver. I can't even begin to formulate the words to describe how horrible this entire thing is! I feel like I should have a big long rant here, but I can't even get the words out!

Not a Place for Wimps and Whiners said...

The sad thing is that there is a high likely hood that this kid will kill someone again. He doesn't ever learn the consequences of anything so it will take a long time for him to "get it" and unfortunately at someone's expense. So sad.

Unknown said...

so the judge is a liberal Republican, i thought i had heard it all incredible

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